The boss for American casino operator MGM Resorts International has reportedly revealed that his firm is still interested in being given the right to bring a gambling-friendly development to the Japanese city of Osaka.
According to a report from Inside Asian Gaming, Bill Hornbuckle (pictured) serves as President and Chief Executive Officer for the Las Vegas-headquartered company and he used a Thursday conference call with investors to detail that he remains keen on winning permission for the business to build and run an integrated casino resort being planned for the conurbation of some 2.6 million people.
However, Hornbuckle reportedly admitted to being in the dark as to when Osaka intends to start the request for proposal (RFP) stage of its campaign to secure one of the nation’s coming trio of integrated casino resort licenses. He purportedly furthermore declared that officials for the Honshu city have not yet released the specifics of this process but that this could change ‘within the next several weeks’.
Hornbuckle reportedly told investors…
“I think you’ll see a requirement for us to submit an RFP with our partner, Orix Corporation, sometime this summer. It’s yet to be ultimately determined but we’re ready to go.”
Although most gambling is currently illegal in Japan, the coalition government of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe passed federal legislation in July of 2018 that is to see the nation of some 126 million inhabitants license three large integrated casino resorts featuring hotels, exhibition facilities and extensive gaming floors. The source detailed that Osaka is hoping to secure the right to bring its planned Las Vegas-style development to a 121-acre plot of reclaimed land on Yumeshima Island although coronavirus-related delays mean that any such venue may now not debut until 2028.
Numerous other jurisdictions including Wakayama Prefecture, Yokohama and Nagasaki Prefecture are moreover interested in winning one of these licenses with candidate communities reportedly being obliged to select a foreign operating partner via an RFP-involved campaign in advance of submitting a completed application to a panel of federal selectors before the conclusion of an April of 2022 deadline.
Hornbuckle, who replaced predecessor James Murren in March, reportedly also told investors that MGM Resorts International is ‘a believer in Asia’ in addition to ‘a believer in Japan’ and has been interested in bringing an integrated casino resort to Osaka ‘for a long time’.
Hornbuckle reportedly stated…
“We’ve spent a lot of time and energy becoming the sole one standing at the gate, if you will, in Osaka. And so how long this all takes? Obviously, coronavirus has hit there as equally as hard and there are a great deal of sensitivities around it in that market. We haven’t had our people on the ground there for the better part of nine months so it’s going to take some time to rebound but we have the intent and I believe the government still has the same intent of moving forward.”