COVID-19 continues to disrupt as MGM confirms Japanese delay

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Following the global outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, MGM Resorts International has confirmed that it has been forced to delay its plans to develop an integrated resort located in Osaka, Japan.

According to local Japanese media reports, Osaka officials announced that the city had given up on plans to open an integrated resort in time for the 2025 World Expo due to travel being severely restricted as a result of the coronavirus. 

With this being said and despite the delays, experts remain confident that Osaka, along with other Japanese regions, will feature integrated resorts in the coming years.

As it stands, MGM is currently the only casino company that remains interested in developing a resort in Osaka, however, its plans are reportedly yet to be approved by local Japanese officials.

Discussing MGM’s desire to move forward with its Osaka plans despite the change in schedule, Ed Bowers, CEO of MGM Resorts Japan LLC, stated: “MGM will continue to proceed with our efforts to create a proposal that will be appreciated by the entire Osaka community, taking into account the schedule announced by the government.”

Japan is set to issue three gaming licenses this year, and although analysts in the region seem certain that Osaka will be one of the cities chosen, no confirmation has yet been given by officials. The provinces of Tokyo, Yokohama and Nagasaki are also tipped to be in contention for licenses. 

Regarding its bid to develop within the Asian country, MGM has partnered with Japanese financial services company Orix thus giving it a strong starting foothold within the nation.

It is also reported that two other Las Vegas-based casino operators, Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands Corporation, are also interested in extending their footprints and developing their brands in Japan.

Although Osaka has so far become the only region to push back its timeline, the decision has been welcomed by the industry, with figures such as gaming historian David Schwartz describing the delay as a realistic response to the current global health crisis.