Osaka to name preferred integrated resort partner

By Noah Taylor Updated
ORIX outlines financial plan for Japanese integrated resort with MGM

Osaka’s integrated resort partner is set to be named, with MGM-ORIX tipped to be the successful firm.

Inside Asian Gaming reports that Osaka has privately accepted the consortium as their preferred partner to develop an integrated resort on Yumeshima Island and will make an announcement in late September.

A report said the Osaka Prefecture IR Evaluation Committee made a decision and will proceed with signing a formal agreement with the operators.

The decision to name MGM-ORIX as preferred partner comes as no surprise, given they were the only consortium to take part in Osaka’s request-for-proposal process, although it does represent a significant milestone on the path to IR development.

Assuming a Basic Agreement is signed, Osaka and MGM-ORIX will present their joint bid to the national government by 28 April 2022 and, if approved for a licence, are expected to complete the first phase of development by the late 2020s.

Osaka is the only metropolitan Japanese city and MGM the only internationally recognised IR operator still in the running to develop one of Japan’s first integrated resorts following the recent withdrawal of Yokohama, which ended the pursuit of Genting Singapore and Melco Resorts in that city, although both companies still hold a long-term interest in operating in Japan.

The MGM-ORIX IR is estimated to include an initial US$9.1 billion investment, with MGM CEO and President Bill Hornbuckle stating recently that he expects the company’s contribution to toal no more than US$2.5 billion, likely spread over three years from 2024 to 2026.

“The program with ORIX is 40-20-20, meaning a consortium with other Japanese companies will make up the 20 per cent. If not, MGM and ORIX both fill to 50 per cent,” Hornbuckle said.

He also accepted that further investment would follow, stating: “There’s a commitment we are making to Japan and to Osaka that we would be a true partner in this.”

Osaka is the last of the three candidate locations to confirm its IR partner, with Wakayama naming Clairvest Neem Ventures in June and Nagasaki choosing Casinos Austria in August.

Nagasaki and Casinos Austria to link up

Casinos Austria has officially inked a deal to develop an integrated resort in Nagasaki.

The consortium led by Casinos Austria and prefecture officials confirmed that both parties have signed the proposed integrated resort development agreement.

The project targets Nagasaki’s Sasebo City and the leisure region’s Huis Ten Bosch Dutch theme park.

Casinos Austria International Japan, the company’s operating subsidiary in Japan, is a group that involves global hotel giant Hyatt Group.

“We have signed a basic agreement with Casinos Austria International Japan on August 30,” an official prefecture release said.

“We will now proceed with the area development plan to be submitted for approval before April 28, 2022,” Nagasaki Governor Hodo Nakamura said.

Nagasaki is the second prefecture in Japan to confirm an integrated resort development agreement.

Clairvest signs on to build casino in Wakayama

In late August, Wakayama came to terms with its partner, Clairvest Group.

Clairvest’s entity created for its Japan ambitions involves two other companies – French casino operator Groupe Partouche and AMSE Resorts Japan Limited.

AMSE is a unit controlled by William Weidner, a longtime casino executive who previously served as the president and chief operating officer of Las Vegas Sands.

Japan’s central government legalised up to three commercial gambling integrated resort facilities in 2018.

The country’s legislature has been since mulling over various aspects of the forthcoming industry, including the licensing process and gambling regulations.

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