Apr 17, 2023 Newsdesk Japan, Latest News, Top of the deck
Osaka’s casino development plan got just under 66 percent of the available points – slightly above the necessary threshold – under a scoring examination coordinated by the Japan Tourism Agency and the country’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.
Osaka’s proposal (pictured in an artist’s rendering) – featuring a consortium including MGM Resorts International and Orix Corp – got 657.9 points out of a possible 1,000, with 600 points being the threshold for acceptance, according to information from the Japan Tourism Agency collated by GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent.
MGM Resorts described the scheme as a “US$10 billion” project, in a press release welcoming the plan’s approval, as announced on Friday.
“It is an honour to be selected by the government of Japan to develop a tourism project of this scale,” said MGM Resorts chief executive and president, Bill Hornbuckle, as cited in the press release.
“We couldn’t be more excited to get started on the development of one of Japan’s first integrated resorts in the great City of Osaka, and we look forward to working with our partner Orix and Osaka prefecture and city to realise this long-held goal,” added Mr Hornbuckle.
Many further steps are required, aside from physical construction, if Osaka is to meet its ambition to open a resort in 2029, a number of industry commentators has told GGRAsia.
Osaka’s Integrated Resort (IR) District Development Plan was able to meet all 19 “requirement” criteria set by the national government for all such submissions by local authorities, which was a must.
Another set of measurements – known as the “evaluation” criteria – had 25 items, and was designed to rate the general excellence of a local government’s district plan for an IR, as tourism complexes with casinos are known.
The examination committee has seven people deemed experts in relevant fields, namely six university professors and one medical doctor said to have a specialisation in addiction-related issues. The overall score was based on the “evaluation” items. The final score was based on the average of the scores respectively assigned by the seven members of the committee.
The Osaka scheme is for a site at Yumeshima, an artificial island in Osaka Bay. MGM Resorts and its partners are now expected to finalise the details around the project – including the construction timeline and opening schedule – before signing a so-called implementation agreement with the local authorities.
The Japanese government confirmed on Friday the approval for Osaka’s IR District Development Plan. That plan, and another from Nagasaki, had been submitted to the national authorities at the end of April last year.
On Friday, Nagasaki prefecture confirmed to GGRAsia that its proposal – for a casino resort on land next to the Huis Ten Bosch theme park at Sasebo City, with partners including Casinos Austria International Japan Inc – was still being assessed by the Japanese government.
An investment of JPY438.3 billion (US$3.27 billion) had been mentioned in relation to Nagasaki’s proposal.
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