After lawmakers in Japan passed enabling legislation late last year that could see up to three integrated casino resorts legalized from the beginning of 2019, Osaka has reportedly become the first city to officially announce its intention to bid for one of the licenses.
According to a report from The Japan Times newspaper, political and business leaders from the nation’s third largest city gathered on Tuesday to unveil a plan that would see a 173-acre portion of the man-made Yumeshima Island in Osaka Bay transformed into a development featuring a casino, hotels, shopping arcades, galleries and a convention center.
The proposal would reportedly see the city spend approximately $619 million to construct a subway line out to the island, which currently hosts a port facility, although Osaka mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura indicated that some of this expense would have to be assumed by the operator of the casino.
“We have to place some of the cost burden for the subway on those on the island who will be making a profit,” Yoshimura told The Japan Times.
The Japan Times reported that the entire $7.29 billion project would moreover see around 148 acres on Yumeshima Island set aside for Osaka’s planned bid to host Expo 2025 although the metropolis of some 2.67 million people is facing stiff competition from Paris and the northern English city of Manchester while a final decision on the site for the fair is not due until November.
The Reuters news service reported last month that specific criteria on where Japan’s new integrated casino resorts may be located is anticipated by December while local authorities are expected to be asked to bid for a license in partnership with an international operator such as the already-Japan-interested Las Vegas Sands Corporation, Boyd Gaming Corporation, Genting Singapore, Hard Rock Cafe International Incorporated and MGM Resorts International.
The Japan Times reported that although there is little current local enthusiasm for Osaka’s bid to host Expo 2025, Yoshimura admitted that he had yet to hold discussions about what to do with the unused land on Yumeshima Island should either of the bids fail.
“At this stage, though, talking about a “Plan B” or “Plan C” will just make bidding more difficult,” Yoshimura told the newspaper.