Brokerage Nomura expects Osaka’s successful bid to host World Expo 2025 will pave the way for a casino resort in the Japanese city, largely because the event will require facilities that can later be utilised by a large-scale gaming facility.
In a note issued on Monday, Nomura commented on Osaka (pictured) having won the privilege of staging a World Expo, saying there were ramifications for the nascent casino industry in Japan.
“By being selected to host the World Expo 2025, Osaka has even greater prospects of being awarded a licence to operate an integrated resort, including casino, at Yumeshima, which could spur additional construction investment,” said the note by Kentaro Maekawa.
Osaka’s government has earmarked an island called Yumeshima, “Dream Island” in English, as the venue. Nomura says the scale of the railway infrastructure, marine engineering and land reclamation required to build suitable facilities – including for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions – for the expo means it would make financial sense to utilise the site for a casino resort.
World Expo events last for up to six months and draw tourists from across the planet. “We could also see progress with construction of MICE facilities and hotels aimed at meeting demand from integrated resorts,” the note said. The spending on rail alone would come to “tens of billions of yen”, it said.
As many as three integrated resorts – otherwise known as casino resorts – will be permitted at yet-to-be determined locations across the country under a first wave of liberalisation. Some executives in the gaming industry expect the first casino licences in Japan to be issued around 2020 and the first resorts there to open around 2025.
Several big operators of casinos around the world have expressed interest in developing a casino resort in Japan.
In Osaka, the local government has consistently voiced support for accommodating a casino resort on Yumeshima as a way to boost tourism to the region.
The Reuters news agency reported in August that at least eight casino firms were courting Osaka as a site for a casino resort.
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