Osaka Banks on Boats to Bring Gamblers, Assuming It’s Awarded An Integrated Resort

Posted on: October 26, 2019, 02:45h. 

Last updated on: October 27, 2019, 11:35h.

Looking to allay concerns that a prospective integrated resort will be located far from other major points of interest, officials in Osaka on Friday announced plans to build a new port to enhance access to a gaming venue.

Osaka officials want to build an artificial island with a real boat terminal to make an integrated resort easy to reach for visitors to the city. (Image: CNN)

The Japanese city, viewed as one of the top contenders in the contest to land a casino, wants the venue to be situated in Yumeshima in Osaka Bay. That location isn’t easily accessible from downtown Osaka or Kansai Airport, and the ship terminal project is a step towards mitigating those concerns.

City officials believe the maritime project could be completed by 2024, a year prior to the earliest projection for an opening of an integrated resort there. Should Osaka be selected as one of the initial homes to a gaming property, Japanese regulators will almost certainly push to ensure the venue can be opened by 2025, the year the city hosts the World Expo.

To be built on the harbor island of Yumeshima as a first step toward the casino resort, the terminal will accommodate vessels as large as 1,000-passenger cruise ships,” reports Nikkei Asian Review.

MGM Resorts International, Galaxy Entertainment Group, and Genting Singapore are the operators competing for the Osaka license, with MGM often viewed as the leader due in part to its long-standing commitment to Japan’s third-largest city.

Other Points Of Access

There are existing ways to access Yumeshima from central Osaka, including a bridge and a subway line. City officials are also planning an expansion of that subway artery to accommodate increased usage, should an integrated resort arrive. Galaxy Entertainment said the current line will not be enough once a gaming property is open.

In Asia, accessing casinos by sea isn’t uncommon. In Macau, for example, there are a slew of ferry services to transport gamblers from Hong Kong. The Cotaijet ferry from Hong Kong to Taipa drops guests off right at the Venetian Macau and Galaxy Macau, among other properties.

In Singapore, tourists looking to visit the Marina Bay Sands can do so by river ferry. At least one domestic casino is also accessible by river, with Wynn Resorts’ Encore Boston Harbor offering a water taxi service.

Next Steps

The plan for the new Osaka maritime terminal submitted Friday is seen as a working draft, with a formalized version expected in December after locals have had a chance to comment on the proposal. Officials believe the new docking area will have utility beyond serving a casino, noting it can also used to shuttle staff and supplies to and from World Expo sites in 2025.

The port pitch wasn’t the only plan to emerge during the week regarding Osaka’s gaming future. On Monday, Mayor Ichiro Matsui said it would be preferable for the city to lease the integrated resort land to the selected operator rather than sell the property, because a long-term lease would generate more revenue for Osaka than a one-time sale.