A proposed $10 billion casino development in Osaka is hitting the headlines this week as it was unveiled that MGM Japan, together with its joint-venture partner ORIX, has won the bid to be the region’s integrated resort partner. And details have also been released of the costly vision that aims to bring a world-class resort experience to the Japanese region.
All eyes have been on Japan in the past few years as the bid to bring a range of luxury gambling establishments has faced quite the array of challenges, including the threat that the Covid-19 pandemic has placed on all types of businesses. While new developments and bricks and mortar establishments faced troubles with delays and closures all round, online casinos were lucky enough to see a surge in interest during the 18 months or so of lockdowns with the likes of Online Gamblers reporting a bumper increase in traffic.
But now that the pandemic is somewhat under control, we look to the future and plans are once again moving forward to create a top entertainment and hospitality destination, which will serve as a tourism hub in Japan. This new resort looks set to be a mega one and holds quite the price tag, so what can we expect from the development and how did it all come about?
The journey so far
On July 19, 2021, the Integrated Resort (IR) Implementation Act came into effect meaning that commercial gaming is no longer illegal in the permitted areas of Japan providing those operators obtain a casino license from the central government. It had been a lengthy process to get to this stage, but now things are moving in the right direction for those who have become invested in the process of bringing Japan into the global gaming community.
The Integrated Resort bill states that any casino project should take advantage of the regional characteristics of where they are being built as well as contributing in a positive way to their host city and surrounding areas. MGM has had a development team in the country for over seven years, working full time to engage with Japan’s business communities, immerse in the country’s culture and lay the foundations for the project, which will embody Japan’s distinctive history and heritage.
Now that MGM-ORIX fended off stiff competition from the likes of Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited and Las Vegas Sands Corporation to win the project, what can we expect from this mega development?
Well, anyone in the know will be aware that MGM Resorts International are a big name in the game of luxury casino resorts with current establishments including MGM Grand, Bellagio, ARIA and Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas alone. With an array of some 29 unique hotel and destination gaming offerings across the U.S and Macau, providing a level of luxury that leaves high rollers in awe, MGM resorts are (as stated on their website) looking forward to “bringing a dynamic Integrated Resort (IR) that honors Japan’s heart of hospitality, brings yet unseen entertainment, serves as a hub of tourism, creates high-quality employment, encourages innovation and promotes economic development to Japan.”
So, what can we expect from the Osaka development?
Expected to begin taking shape within a 121-acre portion of Yumeshima Island in 2022, the proposed $10 billion waterside development will be among the most pricey resorts to be built across the world, so it is sure to impress.
If all plans go ahead and get accepted, we won’t expect to see this mega resort open until the second half of the 2020s, but it will surely be worth the wait. Visitors can expect to find a range of accommodation and amenities including MGM Osaka, MGM Villas and MUSUBI Hotel with 2,500 guest rooms, a variety of dining and food and beverage offerings, spa, retail space, fitness centre, a 3,500-seat theatre, and conference and exhibition spaces.
Working for the destination, the new development is hoping to employ approximately 15,000 employees, bring an estimated 20 million annual visitors to the area and wider Japan, and showcase the exciting country through food, art, culture and theatre by including a Kansai Tourism Centre, Japan food pavilion, Kansai art and culture museum and garden theatre.