Hiroshi Mizohata, director of the Osaka Convention and Tourism Bureau, revealed the Osaka IR opening plans as part of the recent Japan IR Forum Online 2021, run by the Japan IR Association.
“Since the IR operator will be decided in September this year, we will work with the operator to make an area development plan,” said Mizohata (via Inside Asian Gaming).
“In 2022, tourism will return to pre-corona levels, with construction for the 2025 World Expo starting in 2023. The IR would then open later in 2027 or 2028.”
Last year, Genting Singapore and Galaxy Entertainment exited the race to develop the IR in Osaka, leaving just MGM Resorts in the competition.
Osaka IR could open in 2027 or 2028
“After careful consideration of the opinions of many shareholders, we regret that we will not continue our participation in the Osaka IR project going forward,” Genting said in a statement.
An executive for Galaxy Entertainment said: “We decided at this time that our focus should be on other potential locations in Japan, including among others, Yokohama.”
Additional operators that abandoned plans for the IR include Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands Corp, and Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd.
IR operator will be chosen in September
“Although tourism has been suddenly limited, like going from an express to a local train, we are getting ready for our counter attack,” Mizohata added.
Despite the outbreak of COVID-19, Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe confirmed Japan is proceeding with its IR projects in Osaka, Yokohama and Tomakomai as planned.
“The [impact of] COVID-19 will inevitably shrink and I would like to look past the pandemic and work hard to create an attractive city through the mechanisms of the World Expo and IR,” said Mizohata.
“I want Osaka to be a nice place to live, work and study.”