Japan’s government has officially approved Osaka’s integrated resort plan (IR), which is the first government-certified IR package within Japan and the first casino in Japan.The resort is expected to open in late 2029, and the local government expects 20 million visitors in the first year of business. It is expected that annual gaming revenue can bring in JPY 520 billion (about HK$ 30.8bn), while non-casino business is about JPY 420 billion (about HK$ 24.9 billion). Separate approvals are still required for Orix Holdings and MGM Resorts. Besides, the Japanese government is still reviewing the IR plan of Nagasaki Prefecture.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said last Friday (14 April) that the approval of the opening of the casino in Osaka was aimed at attracting more tourists from both Japan and abroad, thereby promoting the beauty of Japan and promoting tourism.
According to the proposal, this integrated resort, which includes casinos, exhibitions, hotels and entertainment, is located on the island of the Osaka Bay Dream Island, with nearly 500,000 square meters of land, equivalent to 2.5 Victoria Park in Hong Kong, and an initial investment cost of JPY 1.8 trillion (approximately HKD 106,700,000,000).
According to a Japanese industry commentator quoted by foreign media, although the Japanese government officially approved Osaka’s plan to open integrated resort (including casinos), there is still a lot of work to do so at this stage. The parent company MGM China (2282), which is the IR major partner in Osaka, and Japan Orix, are still subject to the signing of a final agreement.
Japan has previously banned the opening of gambling facilities, but after the law revision in 2018, approved venues are allowed to offer activities such as poker and baccarat. The Osaka government will formulate measures and regulations for countering gambling addiction. The Osaka authorities have committed to increasing the number of healthcare institutions available to treat gambling addiction by 1.4 times before the expected opening of IR.