All of those casino operators that have been chomping at the bit in an effort to strut their stuff to Osaka can finally really get serious. The Japanese city has announced that it will start taking concept applications from potential gaming partners as of Thursday, April 25, for the city’s quest at hosting one of the three integrated resorts (IR) that are coming to Japan. Applications will be accepted until May 24.
Osaka—both the prefecture and the city—jointly created an office to help develop the region’s IR plans and that office is now accepting applications. It has issued a request-for-proposals (RFP) to potential gaming operators so they can submit their initial IR design proposals for consideration. The most likely site for the resort will be Yumeshima Island on Osaka Bay and the IR is expected to encompass around 121 acres.
A casino operator’s RFP response should include the IR requirements as laid out by the Japanese government at the end of last month. Among others, these include spaces dedicated to conventions and exhibitions, Japanese cultural attractions and a hotel with at least 1.1 million square feet which would be somewhere in the vicinity of 3,300 rooms. The operator chosen as Osaka’s casino partner will also have to pay for almost half of the total cost of $482 million that is estimated for the regional subway to be extended to Yumeshima.
Following this initial RFP submission, candidates must follow up with a design plan, which must be submitted no later than the end of August. Osaka government officials will then review the proposals and the design from August to October, and issue a “basic policy” for an IR later this year. Following this, when Osaka has chosen its gaming partner, the local government will forward its IR plan to the national government for consideration.
Osaka still hopes to be able to launch an IR, if its proposal is accepted by Tokyo, before the 2025 World Expo. However, this is not a necessity and the governor of Osaka, Hirofumi Yoshimura said in a press conference Wednesday, “Opening before the expo is not a red line. We want operators to tell us how long it will take for us to have a facility of the highest quality.”