Casino group MGM Resorts International confirmed in an email to GGRAsia that it was linking to Japan’s Orix Corp, a financial services group, with the aim of developing a Japanese casino resort.
“MGM Resorts confirms that we are working with Orix to create Japan’s first integrated resort in Osaka [pictured],”said the group in a statement sent by its Japan unit, MGM Resorts Japan LLC.
According to comments from Makoto Inoue, the chief executive of Orix, reported in Japan last week, MGM Resorts and Orix were to form a consortium, with each firm holding an equal amount of equity, while “Osaka corporations” would be expected to hold the rest.
The formation of a consortium might be the basis for a response by MGM Resorts and local partners to an anticipated “request for proposal” from the Osaka prefectural and city authorities.
Jim Murren, chairman and chief executive of MGM Resorts, said in comments in Tokyo a week ago, that he anticipated Osaka would make a decision by this time next year regarding which private-sector partners it would like to work with when pitching to the national government for the right to host a casino resort.
A maximum of three casino resorts will be permitted in the first stage of market liberalisation, and bidding places will still need to get approval from the national government.
Osaka is due on April 7 to hold elections for the post of Osaka city mayor and Osaka prefectural governor, which could see a change of control to the Liberal Democratic Party, which also holds the balance of power at national level.
On Tuesday this week, Japan’s cabinet passed a number of ordinances giving detail on some of the ground rules for Japan’s nascent casino sector, including some restrictions on advertising and the minimum amount of hotel space expected, as well as the maximum proportion of resort space allowed for gaming.
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”Our own consensus is that any newcomers to this [junket] sector should be corporatised, and should be financially sound and able to commit a higher guarantee deposit”
Kwok Chi Chung
President of junket trade body, the Macau Association of Gaming and Entertainment Promoters