Construção do primeiro cassino no Japão 5 anos após a legalização
Foto: FreePik

Construction of the first casino in Japan begins five years after the legalization of gambling in that country.

Japan legalized commercial gambling with up to three integrated resort (IR) casinos in July 2018. Nearly 2,000 days later, construction on the first casino project is officially underway.

MGM Resorts International, through its joint venture with Japanese financial services conglomerate Orix Corporation, has signed its formal IR development with the City of Osaka and Osaka Prefecture.

The agreement took place at the end of September.

MGM and Orix are equal 42.5% partners in Osaka IR Corporation, with the remaining 15% controlled by smaller investors including Panasonic, Kansai Electric and West Japan Railway.

Osaka IR Corporation has officially started construction with an investment of US$8.6 billion with site preparation in Yumeshima.

In other words, Yumeshima, an artificial island in Osaka Bay will have the 2 thousand square meter casino resort. The island spans almost 2,800 meters and has been used mainly as a container port.

Therefore, site preparation costs are expected to be US$173 million.

Osaka IR Corp. is financing land preparation work, but the Osaka city government has committed to reimbursing the company upon completion of the resort.

Years of delay for construction of first casino in Japan

When Japan passed its casino law in July 2018, the country caught the attention of major casino operators around the world.

The country was, at the time, considered the biggest market opening since Macau, China.

Along with MGM, casino giants that expressed interest in obtaining one of the three casino licenses included Las Vegas Sands, Caesars Entertainment.

In the same way as Wynn Resorts, Hard Rock International and Mohegan.

The delay in regulation in Japan after the approval of the casino law caused these companies to lose much of their enthusiasm.

Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic further delayed Japan’s National Policy in finalizing casino regulations and bidding processes.

Las Vegas Sands and its founder and CEO Sheldon Adelson finally had enough, and in May 2020 they shocked the global gaming industry by announcing their withdrawal from Japan.

In fact, the company was, at the time, the world’s largest casino operator by gaming revenue and was heavily considered the favorite for one of the three licenses in Japan.

Adelson, who died in January 2021, said at the time that Japan’s structure “made our goals unachievable.”

MGM Osaka and casinos

The opening of MGM’s Osaka IR will feature three hotels from three different brands, offering approximately 2,500 rooms.

The complex will feature 210,000 square meters of space for conventions and attractions that “present the best of Osaka and Japan.”

Therefore, MGM Osaka’s gaming floor will be limited to 3% of the IR’s total indoor square footage as determined by the 2018 gaming law.

Osaka IR Corp. aims to open in 2030.

Japan has only one other IR offer pending from Casinos Austria in Nagasaki.

Ultimately, the gaming company wants to build a roughly $3 billion gaming destination at the Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Sasebo.