United States-based casino operator MGM Resorts International is confident about its chances in the contest to build a so-called integrated resort (IR) in the Japanese city of Osaka. The company issued a press release on Thursday reiterating the effort it was making there. The same day its market rival, U.S.-based Las Vegas Sands Corp, announced it would no longer pursue such an opportunity in that city.
“MGM Resorts remains deeply committed to pursuing an integrated resort in Osaka, Japan,” said the chairman and chief executive of MGM Resorts, Jim Murren (pictured), in a prepared statement.
He added: “We announced our ‘Osaka First’ strategy and have not wavered from that plan. We have always had confidence in our position, as what we will bring to Osaka is something only MGM Resorts can deliver.”
MGM Resorts had previously publicly affirmed its interest in Osaka as a location for its Japan casino resort bid. The company confirmed in May that it was going to submit a proposal for the Osaka casino request-for-concept (RFC) phase, in partnership with Japanese financial services group Orix Corp.
MGM Resorts was publicly identified in June by the authorities in Osaka as one of the entities that was participating in the RFC phase.
In Thursday’s release, Mr Murren was quoted as saying: “We are also excited about our partnership with Orix, a highly-respected Japanese company with a strong presence in Osaka, as we jointly pursue this venture. Together, we are working to submit our response to the ‘request for concept,’ and look forward to the next steps in the process.”
The MGM Resorts CEO said the company – if it were to win a licence for Osaka – would develop a “truly unique destination” that would “generate significant economic activity for the region”.
“We will bring world class entertainment, exciting cultural events, convention expertise, and premium dining and retail experiences that will have broad appeal both nationally and internationally,” Mr Murren stated.
Once Osaka chooses private-sector partners for a casino bid, the city authorities will have to make a submission to the national government making a case for why the metropolis should be allowed such a facility. The criteria the central government will use to evaluate schemes have not yet been announced. Up to three casino resort complexes will be allowed across the country in a first phase of market liberalisation.
MGM Resorts already has Asian operations via resorts in Macau, operated by its subsidiary MGM China Holdings Ltd.
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