Osaka University’s Nakanoshima Center just wrapped up its second Expo/Growth IR/Yumeshima Development Symposium this past Monday and MGM Resorts International was happy to be present. The casino giant, through its MGM Resorts Japan arm, made an appearance to talk about its plans for an integrated resort (IR) in the area and was joined by Galaxy Entertainment Group Japan, which is also bidding for an Osaka-area license. The race is heating up and MGM is doing everything it can to maintain a lead.
The symposium focused almost exclusively on the IR activity, even opening with comments on the subject. The president and representative director of the Osaka International Convention Center, Shinichi Fukushima, was on hand and delivered the opening remarks, stating, “The IR bid is already reaching the final stages. There is no doubt that it will be an unprecedented growth-type IR, and an Osaka IR and World Expo will energize Osaka.”
MGM Resorts Japan CEO Ed Bowers took the stage not too much later, ready to discuss his company’s lofty plans for a massive resort somewhere in Osaka. He wowed the crowd and sought to drum up enthusiasm by asserting, “The first Japanese IR must be the best in the world. For that purpose, partnerships with the local area are important. MGM and ORIX are all in. For us, it’s only Osaka.”
Galaxy’s GM, Satoshi Okabe, followed and highlighted the company’s support of local communities, as well as its ability to attract Asian visitors. He explained, “Our strength lies in our ability to attract Chinese customers. Currently half of the overseas visitors to Osaka are Chinese. This is where we can showcase our skill.”
Missing from the possible candidates for an Osaka IR was the only other company that reportedly is still in the running, Genting Singapore. Its absence might be an indication that it is changing its mind about participating in the upcoming bidding wars, which could begin before the end of this year.
To further cement its position as the leading IR candidate, MGM Resorts Japan has decided to sponsor the 10th Yosakoi Osaka Tournament, which is part of the upcoming Dotonbori River Festival. That festival is the largest in Osaka and includes traditional performing arts, attractions, entertainment and more. It will be held October 12 and 13.
This is going to be the third consecutive year that MGM has sponsored the event and is part of the company’s larger plan of supporting the local community. The company is also sponsoring the upcoming Sneaker Con Osaka 2019 in November, one of the largest sneaker festivals in the world.