The highly anticipated inauguration of Japan’s first casino resort, located in Osaka, has been postponed, with the new estimated debut date set for around fall 2030. When the development plan was presented to the central government in April 2022, it was projected for autumn or winter 2029; however, this delay is owing to the plan only gaining central government approval in April of this year.
As a result of the delay, the project’s initial investment is estimated to rise from $1.08 trillion ($7.3 billion) to $1.27 trillion ($8.6 billion). This increase is mostly due to rising building material costs.
Once the revised plan gains central government approval, the Osaka government aims to swiftly sign a contract with the designated operator for the casino resort, potentially as early as this month.
The Osaka IR project is led by U.S. casino operator MGM Resorts International and local partner Orix Corp, each holding a 40% stake in the project management company. The remaining 20% is shared among 20 other companies, with MUFG Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp providing ¥550 billion in project financing.
The resort, situated on the reclaimed island of Yumeshima in Osaka Bay, will feature a casino, hotels, a conference center, a shopping mall, a museum, and a ferry terminal. It will also include amenities like a helicopter pad for high-rollers. Yumeshima Island is set to host the World Expo in 2025.
With the integrated resort (IR) law, Japan legalized casinos in 2018, clearing the path for legally regulated casinos featuring games such as poker and baccarat. Given Japan’s 126 million population and closeness to affluent Asian gamblers, the move was part of an effort to lure tourists to the country.
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