Osaka finalises certification for Japan integrated resort project

MGM Resorts and Orix Corporation have taken a step closer to moving ahead with plans to build an integrated casino resort in Osaka, Japan after finalising certification for the project.

Certification was approved for Osaka IR Corporation, a joint venture between MGM and Orix Corporation. Issued by Osaka Prefecture and Osaka City, it covers the “Specified Integrated Resort Facilities Area Development Plan” for the Osaka Integrated Resort (IR).

Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism already approved the project in April. The new certification confirms the actual location and development plans for the resort, which will be built in Yumeshima, Osaka.

First integrated resort in Japan

Should the project go ahead as expected, the IR will be the first land-based casino to open in Japan. MGM and Orix say it will contribute to the sustainable growth and development in Osaka and the wider Japanese economy.

“This is a significant moment for our company as we officially close the certification process and begin to focus on executing our vision, in partnership with Orix, to build a world-class integrated resort in Osaka,” MGM Resorts president and CEO Bill Hornbuckle said.

“We remain passionately committed to this project. We look forward to bringing Japan and Osaka best-in-class gaming, entertainment, dining and retail experiences. 

“Our vision is to bring MGM’s ‘wow’ DNA from Las Vegas to Osaka and build a resort that will be a source of great pride in the community.”

Long road to Osaka casino

The project is the culmination of years of work. In 2018, the Japanese Diet parliament enacted legislation clearing the way for the construction of such facilities. Following a number of delays, the law eventually came into effect in July 2021.

MGM won the contract to develop the site. It will be working with Japanese business Orix, having formed a partnership two years ago.

The entire project will cost approximately JPY1.8tn (£9.88bn/€11.42bn/$2.09bn). The IR will be built on Yumeshima, an artificial island near Osaka that is also set to host the World Expo in 2025. Governor IchirĊ Matsui of the Osaka prefecture first proposed the site as a possible location of IR development in 2014.

An opening date is yet to be confirmed but Japanese media reports suggest it will not be ready until 2030.