Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura acknowledged Tuesday that it would be “difficult” to open its planned integrated resort and casino facility on Yumeshima Island by 2029 due to the length of time it took to achieve central government certification.
According to Reuters, Yoshimura told reporters it is a “shared understanding of the people involved” that opening would now be later than initially planned, adding “Until now I have only mentioned the possibility of delays.”
His comments echo those made by MGM Resorts CEO and President Bill Hornbuckle in May, who told analysts during an earnings call that he doesn’t expect the company’s Osaka IR to open until 2030, possibly sometime in the second quarter. The project had previously been flagged for a 2029 launch.
MGM and local firm ORIX Corp were in late 2021 named as Osaka’s preferred partner to develop an IR, estimated to cost around US$10 billion.
“We are looking to break ground either late this year or first quarter next year and it’s between a four-and-a-half to five-year build,” Hornbuckle said in May.
“It is probably going to open in the first or second quarter of 2030, so we’ve got some time to go. There is obviously a lot of work to be done and it is a man-made island in terms of borings, so that’s the general timing around it.”
The Osaka prefectural government also revealed last week that it has extended by almost three months the deadline for signing an implementation agreement with its operator partners. Originally scheduled to be put in place within 90 days of the central government approving the Osaka bid on 14 April 2023, authorities have now extended that deadline until late September.
This also extends the period in which MGM and ORIX can terminate the basic agreement signed with Osaka authorities in February 2022, although neither party has given any indication of doing so despite the huge costs involved in developing Japan’s first and possibly only integrated resort.