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Japan – Osaka pinpoints investment and footprint for future IR

By - 13 February 2019

Politicians in Japan’s Osaka prefecture have laid out some of the parameters for casino operators hoping to win a casino licence to operate there, confirming that the minimum investment will be $8.5bn for a MICE-based casino covering more than 100,000 square meters.

The project will be based on Yumeshima island which is also hosting the World Expo 2025.

The IR Promotion Council revealed the details at the prefectural office of Osaka prefecture/city and formally confirmed the Osaka IR Fundamentals Plan, adding that the largest conference hall would need to accommodate 6,000 people and over 12,000 people across the facility as a whole. The facility would attract 24.8m visitors annually of which 18.9m would use non-gaming attractions.

Las Vegas Sands, MGM, Wynn, Melco, and Galaxy Entertainment are all interested in operating the casino.

Osaka Prefectural Governor Ichiro Matsui said: “We need world-class facilities not just for tourists but also to meet the requirements of business travellers to lead to an increase in inbound foreign visitor income.”

The Fundamentals Plan outlines three phases with the first including the IR with commercial MICE facilities and a gaming floor. The second phase would bring an entertainment facility using the 2025 World Expo site and the third phase would see extra resort facilities built.

It would contribute JPY760bn to the local economy each year. Annual sales are pitched at JPY480 billion (US$4.4bn) of which casino sales would account for 80 per cent.

A new police station would be built on Yumeshima, the site being put forward for the project. The chosen operator would work with an consultative specialising in preventing gambling addiction.

MGM Resorts Japan has already put forward its Osaka First policy which will ‘concentrate MGM’s management resources in Osaka to gain regional improvement plan approval for an IR facility in Japan.’

Jason Hyland, President and Representative Officer of MGM Resorts Japan, said: “The IR proposal and regional development plan offered by MGM Resorts should reflect the wonderful history and culture of Osaka and the Kansai region. We hope to continue deepening our relationships with those in the regional tourist industries as well as the financial circles.”

The Kansai Association of Corporate Executives wants the casino to open on Yumeshima island prior to the 2025 World Expo. It wants the casino project to use the whole of the Yumeshima site after the Expo has finished. As well as ensuring the transparency of the IR selection process, the association wants to see the establishment of a new organisation for the MICE bid and creation. It wants the casino to make contributions to the tourism and cultural arts of Kansai and to generate synergy between the IR property and the Expo.

Governor Matsui has confirmed that the public offering to chose an IR operator will kick-off in the Spring.

So far, only three of Japan’s 47 prefectures have officially lodged an interest in operating an integrated resort with Wakayama and Nagasaki the other two.

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