In a groundbreaking moment for Japan, construction has officially started on Osaka’s integrated resort (IR) project, marking the country’s entry into the world of casinos. This momentous occasion was made possible by the Japanese government’s approval of a revised implementation agreement, signaling a turning point in the nation’s stance on gaming.

The Osaka integrated resort is a collaboration between renowned international casino giant, MGM Resorts International, and Orix Corporation, each with a 42.5% stake in the project. The initial phase of construction involves preparing the land for stability, with an estimated cost of $173 million. Though the property owners are currently covering these expenses, the local government has committed to reimbursing the funds upon completion of the project. In total, the Osaka IR is expected to cost $8.6 billion to develop.

Situated on Yumeshima, a 700-acre artificial island in Osaka Bay, the completed resort will span 52 acres and feature three hotels from different brands, offering a total of 2,500 rooms for guests. The expansive development includes a massive convention space spanning 730,000 square feet, with the casino occupying only 3% of the total indoor area. This impressive resort is poised to significantly boost local tourism while showcasing Osaka as a key player in the global casino and entertainment industry.

Barring any unforeseen delays, the Osaka integrated resort is set to welcome its first guests by 2030. This ambitious timeline aligns with Osaka’s vision to establish itself as a prominent destination for gaming and entertainment.

Japan’s venture into the casino industry was made possible by a 2018 law that relaxed the country’s strict regulations on gaming. Despite legislative obstacles and pandemic-related setbacks, MGM Resorts remained committed to the project, positioning themselves as pioneers in bringing casinos to Japan. The Osaka IR Corporation, jointly owned by MGM Resorts and Orix, holds a 42.5% stake in the project, with the remaining shares distributed among various investors.

While the Osaka IR Corporation takes the lead in the integrated resort movement, there is another contender eyeing the Japanese market. Casinos Austria has plans to construct a $3 billion resort in Nagasaki, aiming to tap into Japan’s potential as a tourism and entertainment hub.

The Osaka integrated resort is expected to attract both domestic and international visitors, leveraging the city’s dense population and affluent residents. With a target of 6 million foreign tourists and 14 million domestic visitors, the resort aims to generate an initial annual revenue of $3.6 billion. Importantly, it is poised to attract new gamblers without detracting from established gaming regions in Asia, such as Macau, Singapore, or the Philippines.

As the Osaka integrated resort project unfolds, Japan is ready to leave its mark on the global gaming landscape, providing new opportunities and experiences for both tourists and locals.

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