Japan approves to build $1.8 bln MGM resort, country’s first-ever casino
Osaka is a popular tourist destination that has international airports.

Asian country Japan agreed on a plan to build the country’s first-ever original casino in the Western city of Osaka on Friday, earning its way for an $8.1 billion resort fix to open in 2029. The project aims to attract national as well as international tourists.

The determination finally cleared the path after a long-delayed haze about whether to make casino resorts a part of Japan’s tourism industry.

Osaka is a popular tourist destination that has international airports. It shares a border with the ancient capital of Kyoto. It is the first to raise a step for gambling authorization after legislation made it achievable in 2016.

The resort complex located on Yumeshima, a reclaimed island in Osaka Bay is also set to host the World Expo in 2025 that comprises hotels, a conference hub, shopping malls, museums, and a ferry terminal, while many will also have entry to the helicopter pad.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks during a news conference at his official residence in Tokyo, Japan, October 28, 2022. Yoshikazu Tsuno/Pool via REUTERS

With over 126 million population and proximity to Asia’s wealthy gamblers, Japan is viewed as a prized market for casino operators. However, another poll has also shown the data where many citizens are concerned about addiction and criminality.

The Osaka IR project has been supported by US Casino operator MGM Resorts International and local partner Orix Corp, with each of them owning a 40% stake in the company set up to supervise the complex.

The remaining 20% stake will be given to another 20 businesses, according to a local government document. The document further stated that MUFG Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp are expected to provide 550 billion yen to finance the project.

The Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, expressed that the project will kick into the economic development of the Kansai area near Osaka and greater Japan after the World Expo 2025. The country is aiming to boost tourism spending after the pandemic caused disruption for two long years.

“It is expected to contribute to the local economy and the economic growth of all of Japan after the Osaka-Kansai Expo and become a tourism hub for transmitting the charms of Japan,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said at a meeting of the government’s IR, or integrated resort, promotion panel.

“We hope (the casino) will become a tourism base that promotes Japan’s charms to the world,” according to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

According to the project paper, the hotel expects to generate 520 billion yen in profit yearly, mainly from the gambling sector, and anticipates attracting 6 million international travelers and 14 million residents of Japan.

The project will be created in collaboration with MGM Resorts, Orix, and the city and prefecture of Osaka, who all expressed their appreciation for the authorization.

The pro-casino Japan Innovation Party held the prefectural governor and city mayor offices in Osaka on Sunday, resulting in the central government’s choice.

45 percent of those who responded to a Mainichi newspaper survey of Osaka residents this month agreed that they were in favor of the casino, 38 percent were in opposition, and 17 percent were uncertain, but women and elderly people were significantly more inclined to be against it.

The coronavirus pandemic and a bribery case that resulted in the arrest of a prominent lawmaker earlier hindered the nation’s casino desires. Major operators of casinos Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN.O), Caesars Entertainment Corp., and Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS.N) have withdrawn from upcoming developments.

By the end of April 2022, only the prefectures of Osaka and Nagasaki in the southwest region had made proposals.

On Friday, the government declared that additional time was necessary to study the Nagasaki plan, which was put together by Casinos Austria International. It didn’t offer an explanation. The Nagasaki prefecture has made an identical request to construct a casino in Huis Ten Bosch, a theme park with a Dutch theme.