MGM Resorts President and CEO Bill Hornbuckle says the company remains largely in the dark over the status of Osaka’s RFP process following recent delays to the national government’s IR timeline. But he has also reiterated the company’s commitment to Japan with the company ready to submit all RFP documentation as soon as the call goes out.
Hornbuckle was speaking on the company’s 4Q20 earnings call on Thursday (Asia time) during which he allayed concerns over MGM’s commitment to pursing a Japan IR license. Those concerns had been heightened in recent months as a result of COVID-19 pressures as well as the company’s efforts to acquire UK online gaming giant Entain PLC.
Asked about progress in Osaka, Hornbuckle noted the nine-month delay Japan’s IR application period announced last year, adding that Osaka “has not given us the requirements of what that will mean to them in our submissions. I think that will be coming out within the next several weeks.
“I think you’ll see a requirement of us to submit an RFP with our partner, ORIX, sometime this summer. It’s yet to be ultimately determined, and we’re ready to go.”
Hornbuckle, who replaced Jim Murren as MGM’s CEO last year, had subsequently expressed some hesitation around the company’s Japan pursuits due to the impact of COVID-19 and concerns around soaring cost expectations.
But his sentiment appeared more upbeat this week, stating, “We’ve been in that marketplace a long time. We’re a believer in Asia. We’re a believer in Japan.
“We’ve spent a lot of time and energy becoming the sole one standing at the gate, if you will, in Osaka. And so how long this all takes? Obviously, COVID has hit there as equally as hard and there are a great deal of sensitivities around it in that market.
“We haven’t had our people on the ground there for a better part of nine months, so it’s going to take some time to rebound, but we have the intent and I believe the government still has the same intent of moving forward.”