MGM Resorts Officially Announces Japan IR Partnership With Orix

Posted on: May 14, 2019, 12:11h. 

Last updated on: May 14, 2019, 12:11h.

The first Japan IR (integrated resort) consortium has officially been unveiled, and comes from MGM Resorts and financial services firm Orix.

Japan IR MGM Resorts Osaka casino
Popular dance crew Jawa Workies helped entertain reporters on hand for MGM Resorts’ official Japan IR announcement with Orix. (Image: MGM Resorts Japan)

News of the partnership surfaced in late March, but it was only this week that MGM Japan CEO Ed Bowers officially announced the news. The man tasked with making sure the casino giant obtains licensure in Japan told reporters that the integrated resort will be “exciting and impactful.”

MGM and Orix are concentrated on Osaka, one of just three prefectures interested in welcoming one of the three forthcoming casino resorts. Government officials there have identified a 121-acre parcel of land on Yumeshima Island for the development.

MGM and Las Vegas Sands are the consensus frontrunners for two of the licenses. Both operators have vast experience working internationally in various jurisdictions.

The world’s major casino operators are expected to engage in a bidding war. Others expected to make proposals include Melco Resorts, Wynn Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, SJM Holdings, Galaxy Entertainment, and Hard Rock.

Along with Osaka, the prefectures of Wakayama and Nagasaki have expressed support for a Japan IR.

Local Commitment

MGM Resorts is saying all the right things in its Japan IR announcement with Orix, a financial services group founded in Osaka. The financial conglomerate is invested in numerous industries, one being real estate development.

Bowers identified Orix as the ideal partner for MGM, as the company’s inclusion is fitting for the casino operator’s “Osaka First” policy. No specific plans were released as to what the consortium is envisioning for the complex that is expected to cost several billions of dollars.

Instead, Bowers focused on MGM’s commitment to Japan, and area residents and businesses.

We are hoping to see many Kansai corporations participate in our business effort, regardless of their size, in order to express the local flavor,” Bowers said, as reported by Inside Asian Gaming.

Beginning today, MGM is hosting a “Thinking About Integrated Resorts (IR) Together” program that will run through the end of the month. During the event, residents are invited to come learn about the project’s scope, and submit comments and suggestions on the project.

Next Steps

The Japanese government is expected to receive formal bids for the IRs sometime next fall. Casino consortiums and their partnered prefecture will submit the proposals jointly to the federal government.

It’s expected that the licenses will be issued in the spring of 2020. Osaka hopes to have its integrated casino resort up and running when the city welcomes the World Expo in 2025.

Osaka officials issued its “IR Fundamentals Plan” earlier this year that details requirements for prospective bidders.

The outline requires the casino resort to feature at least one million square meters of floor space (3.2 million square feet), with the gaming space not exceeding three percent of the total property. Only developers capable of investing $8.5 billion will be considered.