Osaka Casino Seeks Japan’s IR License

Casino Endures Application Setback

Osaka casino is poised in its commitment to get one of the three integrated resort licenses in the country. 

Osaka Casino announcement comes a couple of hours after Dr. Takeharu Yamanaka won Yokohama’s mayoral election. The new mayor is known to be an anti-IR candidate, and has voiced his opposition against the project in the past. The mayor elect has gone on record to say that he will withdraw their city’s application from the IR race. 

In present mayor, Fumiko Hayashi was seeking another term. She voiced her support for the resort project, however voters opposed the plan. 

“It appears that we have been living through a storm of opposition since the IR bid was announced two years ago,” Hayashi acknowledged during her concession speech. “During the election campaign, many residents I spoke to were in favor of an IR.”

Hayashi also cited covid-19 as one of the reasons why she couldn’tmeet with residents to better understand their take on the casino project. 

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There Is Still Hope 

Osaka is not  giving up just yet. Osaka, along with Yokohama make up 2 of the 3 most populated cities in Japan. Supporters of the IR plans believe Osaka has the adequate public backing to move forward with the project. 

“I do not believe that the Yokohama mayoral election will have a major impact on Osaka’s IR project,” Osaka Prefecture Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura said during a press briefing.

The Governor doesn’t believe that the casino issue was the reason why Dr. Yamanaka won the election. However, he cited the corona virus pandemic as the reason. 

“It may be that the city’s elections were dominated by the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 is increasing rapidly in the greater Tokyo metropolitan area, and Mr. Yamanaka, who is an expert on the coronavirus, may have gained the confidence of its residents,” Yoshimura opined.

Osaka is working closely with MGM Resort, and together with financial services group Prix, they unveiled a $9 billion IR plan. 

The proposed site for the IR is at Osaka Dream Island. It will measure almost 1000 arce. 

There is still a long way before the final decision is made but Osaka still hopes to be in the running. 

Others are still hoping for a chance to get the IR license. 

The likes of Genting Group is one of such companies. However the company faces a downgrade from Maybank Kim Eng.

The Malaysia-based investment advisory firm adjusted Genting stock from a “buy” to a “hold” rating.

“Though we still opine that the Genting-Sega Sammy joint venture was in the strongest position to win a Yokohama IR license, it is likely all academic now,” the Maybank note read Monday. “With the Yokohama mayoral election having come and gone, we downgrade Genting to ‘hold.’”

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