In Japan, a host of foreign gambling operators are reportedly going all out in hopes of securing one of the three casino licenses that are going to be made available following last month’s ratification of the Integrated Resort Implementation Bill.
Osaka considered prime candidate:
According to a Monday report from the Reuters news service, the city of Osaka is being seen as a prime location for one of the coming integrated casino resorts due to strong local political support, a supportive business community and the availability of a large site. After recently seeing its economic prowess fade in relation to Tokyo, the metropolis of some 2.7 million people is hoping that such a large facility could help it to boost tourism and bring in much-needed cash.
Osaka is keen on the idea of locating an integrated casino resort on Yumeshima Island, which was built in the 1970s when the southern city’s dockyard areas were awash with blue-collar jobs involved in the production of ships and chemicals. The intervening years have seen most of these industries move abroad with city leaders now hoping to bring a gambling venue to the man-made island by 2024.
Governor for Osaka Prefecture, Ichiro Matsui, to Reuters…
“I want to properly nurture the tourism industry in Osaka as one of its pillars. It’s natural that we need to be fully open and make sure that citizens have no doubts about unfairness or corruption. There’s no doubt a lot of money will be involved and that it’s going to be a big business.”
As such, Reuters reported that Osaka officials have been meeting with a host of foreign casino operators in advance of picking one to run its proposed gambling venue and making a licensing pitch to central government. In hopes of currying favor, executives from some eleven gambling firms have met with Matsui 25 times over the course of the 77 months since January of 2012.
In addition, the news service reported that officials from Matsui’s office have had almost 120 similar encounters with such foreign firms since May of last year with Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited, MGM Resorts International and Las Vegas Sands Corporation considered front-runners. This is due to recent declarations from each that they would be prepared to spend at least $10 billion to bring an integrated casino resort to a 173-acre portion of the aforementioned island in Osaka Bay.
Global Development Executive Vice-President for MGM Resorts International, Ed Bowers, to Reuters…
“Tokyo has not raised its hand [and] Yokohama has not raised its hand. Osaka has raised its hand.”
Annual Osaka casino revenues could hit $4 billion:
Reuters reported that Galaxy Entertainment Group, Caesars Entertainment Corporation and Genting Singapore Limited are also among the foreign casino firms vying for the right to run the proposed Osaka venue, which financial services firm Morgan Stanley predicted could generate annual revenues of up to $4 billion.