The Governor of Osaka Hirofumi Yoshimura shared that years of delay to the first casino resort in Japan will not have a negative effect on the project in the longer term. As previously reported by CasinoGamesPro, the facility is now expected to start operation in 2030.
In an interview with a local media hub at the beginning of the week, Mr. Yoshimura said that it would be great if the project could have opened at the same time as the Osaka Kensay Expo, which is set to take place in 2025. However, according to the Osaka Governor, the five-year delay will not have much effect on the integrated casino project.
As previously reported, the Osaka integrated casino project that features the establishment of a large luxurious gambling, hospitality and entertainment facility featuring hotels, a casino, and entertainment and conference centers, got the approval of the Central Government in April 2023. According to proponents of the IR projects, the expansion of the local gambling sector through the addition of legal casino services will help Japan compete with other Asian countries, such as Macau, Singapore and South Korea, making it more attractive to customers and further bolstering its tourism industry.
As explained by Mr. Yoshimura, Osaka Prefecture is expected to distinguish its offering by taking advantage of the rich culture and history of the region, and the country as a whole. He also added that he expected the establishment of an integrated casino resort is set to also make a substantial contribution to the economy’s prefecture.
Osaka Integrated Casino Resort Set to Start Operation in the First Half of 2030
Japanese politicians have been trying to bring legal casino gambling services into the country for decades, but so far no resorts have been built.
The potential gambling market in the country has been estimated at $20 billion but due to the lack of action in the last few years, some analysts believe that it has lost some of its luster. At least one gambling operator has decided to pull out from Japan due to the delay in the planned establishment of casino resorts, and the conviction of a lawmaker from the ruling party for allegedly accepting bribes from a developer affected sentiment in the country. On the other hand, the delay may be having a positive effect on social opinions, as local people may be getting used to the idea of having legal casino gambling services.
The establishment of the integrated casino resort has been a very important first step for Japan in terms of bringing some changes to the country’s legal gambling sector. Anti-gambling campaigners have shared some concerns over public safety and a potential increase in addiction rates, which has contributed to the delay in the casino projects approval, although there are already some legal forms of gambling in Japan, including betting on bike, horse, and motorboat races, as well as so-called pachinko pinball parlors. Online gambling has also flourished throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
As CasinoGamesPro previously reported, MGM Resorts International has joined forces with Japan-based financial services firm Orix on the proposed IR casino. The initial investment in the development of the resort on the artificial island of Yumeshima is worth around ¥1.08 trillion.
Earlier this month, William Hornbuckle, the chief executive officer of MGM Resorts, noted that the construction of the Osaka IR is likely to start late in 2023 or early in 2024, with the facility expected to become operational in the first half of 2030 – a due date that indicates a slight further delay from the 2029 target that was previously set.