Officials in the Japanese city of Osaka have officially revealed the identities of five of the seven entities that are participating in the process to select a future operator for the giant city’s envisioned integrated casino resort.

Strong field:

According to a recent report, the firms that were publicly named on Tuesday include giant American casino operator, MGM Resorts International, alongside Hong Kong-headquartered rival, Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited. Although both of these had already acknowledged that they were taking part in the selection process, the list of competing candidates is also now known to encompass Genting Malaysia Berhad, Las Vegas Sands Corporation and Wynn Resorts Limited.

Interesting absentee:

GGRAsia reported that two of the candidates do not wish to be identified at this time while the list of runners is said to be especially noticeable because it did not contain Macau casino behemoth Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited, which had previously announced that it was indeed interested in running an integrated casino resort in Japan’s third largest city.

Federal consent:

Japanese legislators ratified the Integrated Resort Implementation Bill in July to pave the way for the licensing of a trio of large integrated casino resorts by as early as the end of next year. In order to be selected as the host for one of these three facilities, candidate cities are being required to team up with private-sector operating partners before submitting their finished joint proposals to Tokyo.

Protracted process:

According to an earlier report, Osaka has long envisioned utilizing 121 acres of reclaimed land on Yumeshima Island as the site for its hoped-for Las Vegas-style integrated casino resort. As such, it launched the month-long request-for-concept (RFC) portion of its selection process on April 24 and had asked potential operating partners to include a number of core specifications for their planned development such as the size and scale of its hotel, convention and exhibition facilities.

Officials in Osaka are now planning to hold talks with every one of the seven candidate operators before initiating the request-for-proposal (RFP) phase of the selection process in August. They are then set to conduct two months of public consultations in hopes of being able to reveal the identity of their preferred operating partner sometime early next year.