The US based operator of casinos, MGM Resorts International, said on its full year earnings call to analysts that it wants to build a casino resort in the Japanese region of Osaka.
“We just recently opened up an office in Osaka. We’ve committed now to the mayor and to the governor of Osaka,” MGM Resorts chairman and chief executive James Murren told financial analysts.
The confirmation of MGM Resort’s interest in Osaka confirms earlier reports stating that MGM was in favor of the prefecture’s application of an “integrated resort”. This was first reported by The Indian Wire.
“We think Osaka will be one of the three concessions that will likely be granted, but we know the central government has to select Osaka and its operator. That probably happens maybe 12, 18 months after Osaka itself picks its operator,” Mr. Murren further went on to say, “Osaka’s goal is to have an IR opened by 2025. That’s when the World Expo is in Osaka.”
MGM Reports may have to vie with other bidders to effectively operate a resort in the industrial city. Lawrence Ho Yau Lung, Asian casino entrepreneur has stated that Osaka is the front runner with Japan’s central government when it comes to hosting a casino.
Brian Sandoval, a former governor of the U.S State of Nevada, has been appointed as the president of the global gaming development of MGM Resorts, and will be at the forefront of leading the effort to penetrate the budding casino gaming market in Japan.
Japanese newspapers have reported that the authorities at Osaka have planned a casino resort that will require a US $8.5 billion investment and this development will require 60 hectares of land. According to this plan, there will be approximately 5.9 million visits by gamblers and 18.9 million visits by non-gamblers.
“We also remain committed to targeted growth opportunities such as sports betting and the pursuit of an integrated resort in Japan,” Murren said. “Importantly, we will continue to prudently allocate capital, with a focus of returning excess cash to shareholders.”