MGM Resorts Confirms Osaka Selection, Integrated Resort Budget Now $10B

Posted on: September 28, 2021, 10:04h. 

Last updated on: September 28, 2021, 05:05h.

MGM Resorts informed investors today that it has been picked by the Osaka Prefecture in Japan to proceed with a multibillion-dollar integrated resort (IR) development.

MGM Resorts Osaka Japan integrated resort
A rendering of the $10 billion integrated resort development that MGM Resorts has proposed to Osaka. The prefecture is one of three in Japan seeking to win the rights to welcome such a large-scale resort development with casino gambling. (Image: MGM Resorts)

The Las Vegas-based casino giant that operates properties in six US states, plus China’s Macau, is betting big on Japan. Teaming up with Orix, a financial conglomerate headquartered in Tokyo, MGM believes Osaka is primed for a major resort development.

The MGM-Orix consortium has pitched the Osaka prefecture and city a world-class resort development. While previous budget projections suggested the total expenditure would be in the neighborhood of $9.1 billion, today’s announcement from MGM has increased that number by $900 million to $10 billion.

“It is an honor to be selected as Osaka’s partner in developing an integrated resort,” MGM Resorts CEO and President Bill Hornbuckle said of its selection as Osaka’s IR partner.

“Nowhere is the future of tourism and hospitality more exciting than Japan, and Osaka is the perfect location for that future to begin. We couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity to help enhance and grow Osaka’s reputation as a world-class destination and gateway for the world to the wonders and rich history of Japan,” Hornbuckle added.

MGM Long Committed to Osaka

Japan’s 2018 Integrated Resort Implementation Act authorizes as many as three IR destinations. Only three prefecture-cities are currently bidding for the gaming permits — Osaka, Nagasaki, and Wakayama.

MGM Resorts has been dedicated to Osaka since Japan’s congress — the National Diet — signed off on its IR bill more than three years ago. The company announced its partnership with Orix in the spring of 2019. That June, MGM unveiled its “Osaka First” policy, a notion that the casino firm would concentrate all of its resources on Osaka during Japan’s effort to bring the country casinos.

Then-MGM CEO and President Jim Murren frequently visited Japan and Osaka in 2018 and 2019 to show MGM’s steadfast commitment to the region. “We’ve made a decision to focus all of our energy on Osaka,” Murren declared in March of 2019.

The longtime MGM Resorts executive departed the organization in March of 2020 to head up Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s (D) COVID-19 private sector task force.

Next Steps

Japan’s central government will begin fielding IR presentations from interested prefectures and their development consortiums next month. Submissions are due by the end of business on April 28, 2022.

We will work closely with prefectural/city municipal governments to deliver an iconic, uniquely Japanese destination warranting Osaka’s selection as home to one of Japan’s first integrated resorts,” Hornbuckle said of the blueprint progress.

Current plans call for an IR with three hotels collectively offering 2,500 guestrooms, a variety of dining offerings, retail shopping space, fitness and spa facilities, a banquet hall, convention and meeting space, and a 3,500-seat theater. Today’s MGM release did not detail specifics on the potential casino floor.

The company says its IR projections concluded that the MGM Osaka integrated resort would lure 20 million annual visitors to the complex and employ around 15,000 people.

MGM added that a key component of the resort’s design would be to promote tourism throughout Japan. The company explains that it would seek to “support and facilitate the formation of a ‘Showcase of Japanese Tourism’ plan for the area surrounding the resort to establish Osaka as a gateway for wider tourism in Japan.”