Project push backs brought by the impacts of COVID-19
Mayor Ichiro Matsui on Thursday disclosed that, Osaka’s Integrated Casino project has pushed back its request-for-proposal (RFP) deadline to another six months, from July 2020 to January 2021, and the move could delay the opening of the IR casino resort until 2028, brought by the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I have received a message from the operator asking for a short extension,” Matsui stated. “The investment capacity of the operator has taken a blow, and we will consider this when we are determining an opening time. I can foresee an overall delay of between one and two years” he added.
Initially, Osaka wanted to to open the IR casino before the World Expo 2025, but delays in both the legislative process and the RFP phase have made that impossible. Still, Osaka targets to open the casino resort on the artificial island of Yumeshima in Osaka Bay.
MGM Resorts International, along with its partner Orix, a Japanese financial services group, remains the only company to have submitted a qualified application to develop an Osaka integrated resort.
Last month, Joji Kokuryo, managing director of Bay City Ventures in Tokyo, told The Japan Times. “Assuming that travel restrictions are eased enough within the next two months, there is just enough time for local governments to select their IR partner and come up with a reasonably sound business plan to submit to the central government,”
On May, Las Vegas Sands chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson cited “the framework around the development of an IR has made our goals there unreachable.” Prompting to the US casino to drop out of the Integrated Resort race in Japan, after years of pursuit to be one of the casino operators in the country.
Despite that withdrawal, MGM, Melco Resorts, Wynn, Genting, Hard Rock, and other major operators are still intrigued by the IR project in Japan, with Tokyo and Yokohama considered as the most favored locations for a resort by the major operators.