MGM not bothered by Osaka IR delay as Yokohama bolsters promotional office


There is still plenty of time before Japan has to finalize choices for its three integrated resort (IR) licenses, but the current troubles caused by the coronavirus have still had an impact. MGM Resorts have announced a delay to their Osaka plans, while Yokohama is not wasting time in building up their IR effort.

playtech-responds-to-gambling-commission-public-statement-on-pt-entertainment-services.The same day that news broke that Osaka would be extending their Request for Proposal (RFP) process an additional three months, MGM Resorts commented that their own plans to develop an Osaka IR would have to be delayed as well. But Ed Bowers, CEO of MGM Resorts Japan LLC, said delay won’t deter them. “MGM will continue to proceed with our efforts to create a proposal that will be appreciated by the entire Osaka community, taking into account the schedule announced by the government,” he said.

MGM looks to be the winner of Osaka’s IR process, but the prefecture’s decision to extend the process could mean a late entrant still has a chance. But in the likely outcome that MGM wins, they have partnered with Japanese financial services company Orix for its bid.

Brendan Bussmann of Global Market Advisors commented that he still expects, regardless of the delay, that an Osaka resort will be completed by 2026.“Osaka still has time on their side,” he said.

Meanwhile, Yokohama, which will compete with Osaka for one of Japan’s three IR licenses, has expanded their IR promotion staff from 25 to 39, effective April 1. This should help the city in its effort to obtain a license, and that keeps it attractive to casino operators.

Ron Reese, spokesperson for Sands, commented that the Osaka delay doesn’t effect his outfit, but the company remains interested in either Yokohama or Tokyo. “I think this is specific to Osaka, which we have already said we are were not pursuing,” Reese said.

Also interested in Yokohama are Genting Singapore and Galaxy Entertainment Group. While the two operators showed initial interest in Osaka, they withdrew before a partner could be chosen. But they are still competing to win a license, either in Yokohama or one of the other regions still interested in having a casino.