The boss for American casino operator, MGM Resorts International, has used a recent conference call with investors to detail that his firm is hoping to be given permission to build an integrated casino resort in the Japanese city of Osaka.

Building local alliances:

According to a report from GGRAsia, the revelation from James Murren (pictured), Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for MGM Resorts International, came as the giant city was preparing to launch a formal proposal that could see it capture one of the three casino licenses being made available following last year’s ratification of the Integrated Resort Implementation Bill.

Fifty-seven-year-old Murren reportedly used the Wednesday call to proclaim that his Las Vegas-based firm is now focusing its Japanese ‘energies’ on partnering with Osaka’s local leaders in hopes of being able to submit a final proposal to the federal government.

Murren reportedly told investors…

“We just recently opened up an office in Osaka. We’ve committed now to the mayor and to the governor of Osaka. MGM Resorts International has adopted an Osaka-first strategy. We are focusing our considerable resources on Osaka.”

Leading candidate:

The CEO declared that Osaka could name an operating partner for its envisioned integrated casino resort ‘by early-2020’ after which it will be required to file an official license application with the ‘central government’ in Tokyo.

He told investors…

“We think Osaka will be one of the three concessions that will likely be granted but we know the central government has to select Osaka and its operator. That probably happens maybe twelve or 18 months after Osaka itself picks its operator. Osaka’s goal is to have an integrated resort opened by 2025. That’s when the World Expo is in Osaka.”

‘Highly competitive’ process:

Murren further added that he expects the process to select an operator for Osaka’s planned integrated casino resort to ‘be highly competitive’ as the area lies at the heart of the nation’s second-largest conurbation, which contains a population of approximately 19.3 million people. GGRAsia detailed that Hong Kong-headquartered Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited is just one of the many rival firms that have previously expressed an interest in bringing a gambling facility to ‘The Venice of Japan.’

He continued…

“But I think the cards are stacked in favor of those who are prepared, who have been working hard, who will have the best program and best strategy, the best understanding of the country, of the prefecture. And I like, a lot, MGM Resorts International’s chances. I don’t think there’s any company in the world better positioned to win in Japan and we intend to do that.”