The story of Osaka IR casino is one that has years behind it. Now, after much speculation, bidding, controversy, and endless analysis, the IR licensing process is reaching some big decisions. Osaka is now ready to choose and it declared MGM as the only casino operator they are willing to accept as a partner.
Now, this company is the first in the world to have a secure backing of a Japanese city. Not only that, but the Osaka prefecture is also the best candidate for one of the three licenses. The news went out on February 14 and quickly appeared on the prefecture official website.
The same move is one more pillar in an almost certain license this region will get from the Japanese government. At the same time, it is also a big endorsement of MGM strategy and overall approach to this incredibly tricky future market.
This casino operator lasted through a very demanding process. It managed to get a better position than over a dozen other interested parties and operators. In May 2019 the mayor of Osaka, Ichiro Matsui stated that the city is in discussions with Genting Singapore, Galaxy Entertainment Group, Melco Resorts and Entertainment, Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts.
All of them are major international operators had a strong ground presence and unique pitch. However, as time passed, so did the candidates disappear one by one. Now, MGM is left standing alone. It also made big promises to get to that spot. The casino operator is guaranteeing a 2025 opening. This date is important because Osaka will then also be the host to the World Expo. With less than five years to that point, the task in front of MGM is as big as the job so far.
It is significantly bigger as the construction and management will need to flow flawlessly. Otherwise, the facility with a price tag of $10 billion could end up bogged down. With that and the possible missing out on the 2025 deadline, MGM would likely be left with no friends in the local government.
Yet, the operator also has a lot of clout in Osaka with this nomination. If, for example, the local government would now decide to drop it as a candidate, it would need to restart the entire process. Not only would it see less interest from other operators, but the whole process would be back at square one. In that case, having a massive IR casino facility would be next to impossible.
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