MGM Resorts-Led Consortium Leads Race for Osaka License

  • Considered the only qualified applicant for the development of an integrated resort in Osaka
  • Genting Singapore and the Galaxy Entertainment Group are MGM's main competitors
  • Winning bidder for the highly sought-after license will be officially announced in June
Tsutenkaku Tower in Osaka, Japan
A consortium between MGM Resorts International and Japan’s Orix Corp has been named as the only qualified applicant for a casino resort license in Osaka. [Image:]

Only qualified applicant

According to local government officials, a consortium led by MGM Resorts International is the leading contender for the casino resort license in Osaka, Japan.

The main parties vying for this license are MGM Resorts International, Genting Singapore, and Galaxy Entertainment Group, each of which already operate in the Asia-Pacific region. However, it appears that MGM is now in pole position to secure the Osaka license.

Osaka officials have suggested that the MGM-led consortium is the only qualified bidder

While an official announcement on the city’s preferred partner is not expected until June, Osaka officials have suggested that the MGM-led consortium is the only qualified bidder for the project.

The three locations that will receive a casino resort license will be announced following the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. 

Official announcement in June

Officials will announce which company will be awarded the Osaka license in June. Therefore, there is still a chance that MGM Resorts may not end up being receiving the license.

Many market analysts believe that Genting Singapore is a major threat, mainly because officials in Japan are looking to copy a similar model for the resort casinos as is in place in Singapore. 

Genting Singapore investors have approved allocating $10bn in investment funds if the company secures a casino resort license in Japan. This would make the facility the most expensive of its kind in the world. Currently, the Marina Bay Sands holds the record with eye-watering expenses of $5.88bn.

The positive news for MGM Resorts follows some of its major competitors withdrawing from the race for an Osaka license. This includes the likes of Wynn Resorts, Melco Resorts & Entertainment, and Las Vegas Sands.

There is also a lot more public support in Osaka for a casino resort as opposed to a lot of the regions. The ongoing casino bribery scandal has soured public opinion about these resorts in a lot of areas in Japan. 

Three cities will receive a license

The favorite destinations to secure the three licenses that are up for grabs in Japan are the country’s three biggest cities: Osaka, Tokyo, and Yokohama. A number of other regions are also in contention, but more candidates are dropping out on a regular basis

Osaka is looking for a way to generate revenue and increase tourist numbers

Osaka is looking for a way to generate revenue and increase tourist numbers. The local government recorded its first budget deficit for the past four years. Officials want Osaka to transform into an international city. 

A busy week for MGM Resorts

News of MGM Resorts being in prime position for this casino resort license broke not long after CEO Jim Murren announced that he is standing down from his position

He will remain in his role until a successor has been put in place. Murren was a key driver in the company’s expansion into the Asia-Pacific market. He will also play a key role in MGM’s efforts in Japan after he steps down from this position in the company. 

The company is also dealing with the closure of two of its casinos in Macau due to the coronavirus epidemic.

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