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Osaka Governor Assures Japan’s First Casino Project Unaffected by Delays

May 18, 2023 Japan Casino & Hotel

The newly re-elected governor of Osaka has guaranteed that the plans for Japan’s first casino resort will not suffer much in the long term despite years of delay.

Hirofumi Yoshimura told Bloomberg that there would have been “a lot of synergy” if the 2025 Osaka-Kansai Expo had opened at the same time. A five-year delay won’t have much of an impact on the project itself, though.

Following mayoral elections, Japan’s Central Government approved the construction of the nation’s first casino. Situated on a man-made island in Yumeshima, the casino resort is slated to include conference spaces, an exhibition hall, a hotel, and a theater. It is anticipated to open in 2029 or 2030, five years after Osaka hosts a World Expo.

The governor of Osaka argues that the new facility will significantly boost the local economy and capitalize on the region’s distinctive history and culture to set itself apart, saying that “traditional Japanese culture is something you don’t get in Macau, Singapore, or South Korea. And the resort will advertise these distinctive features.

A partnership between MGM Resorts International and ORIX-Corp is planning to build the Osaka IR, which is expected to cost $7.9 billion.

The new IR, which will be built on Yumeshima Island, is anticipated to bring in around 20 million visitors annually and generate $3.9 billion in revenue, with domestic travel likely to make up as much as 70% of travel in the years after opening.

The use of JPY79 billion ($14.4 million) in city funds to address soil contamination at the Yumeshima site and the requirement for a vote on an IR initiative were the opposition candidates’ two primary points of contention. Additionally, a lawmaker from the ruling party was found guilty of taking bribes from a developer, inciting indignation across the country.

For a country that has waited decades for the development of casinos, Osaka’s IR permission is a huge accomplishment. However, there are still certain questions and issues to be resolved, like as the expense of cleaning up the Yumeshima site’s soil contamination, which could cost JPY79 billion ($14.4 million) in city expenditures.

With the exception of Macau’s Galaxy Entertainment Group, almost all other international bidders have dropped their Japan ambitions. This includes their proposal for an IR in 2020 in Osaka.

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