A seven-person committee has been set up by the prefecture and city of Osaka in order to select a private-sector partner for that Japanese metropolis’ tilt at getting a casino resort, a facility known in Japan as an integrated resort or “IR”.
The committee is said to include experts in problematic gambling behaviour and the financial auditing of large companies, according to information compiled by GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent.
In late November Osaka metropolis said it hoped to choose a private-sector partner for such a project “around June 2020”.
The chairman of the committee is Yoshiki Nishizawa, who is also said to be the chief director of the University Public Corporation Osaka.
The committee’s vice chairman is Hiroshi Mizobata, head of the Osaka Convention and Tourism Bureau. The committee is also said to feature roles for a senior city government official and a senior prefectural government official.
The Osaka authorities have stated they will announce this month – even before the national government confirms its “basic policy” on IRs – their request-for-proposal (RFP) requirements. Information gathered from that process is expected to assist the Osaka authorities in their partner-selection phase.
Some big operator names with existing Macau gaming operations – Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd, Las Vegas Sands Corp, and Wynn Resorts Ltd – have already dropped out of the running for a partnership with Osaka.
Other big brands are still thought to be in the reckoning. The Osaka authorities also announced in late November the names of the three private-sector firms that had stuck with its request-for-concept (RFC) process until the end. They were: the consortium involving U.S.-based MGM Resorts International and Japanese financial services group Orix Corp; the Japan unit of Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd; and Genting Singapore Ltd, a unit of Malaysian-based Genting group.
MGM Resorts is the parent of Macau casino operator MGM China Holdings Ltd; Galaxy Entertainment is a Macau casino licensee; and Genting Singapore runs the Resorts World Sentosa gaming complex as part of Singapore’s casino duopoly.
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