MGM Resorts Japan CEO, Ed Bowers, reiterated the potential of the Japanese gaming market during his keynote address at G2E Asia 2022 – Special Edition in Singapore. The Las Vegas-based casino giant is bullish on Japan’s forthcoming casino market despite excessive rules and regulations.
Even with all the restrictions and the hindrance caused by the pandemic, MGM remains committed to its casino project in Osaka and is one of the only two players in the bidding war for a gaming concession from Japan’s central government along with Casinos Austria.
Kansai, where the Osaka project is located, is home to about 25 million people and could become a hub for a potential gaming market owing to the area’s great infrastructure, coupled with the nation’s fast-growing base of foreign tourists.
“We believe that Japan will be a great gaming market. It has close to 130 million people and very large clusters in a handful of metropolitan areas – 33 million in the Tokyo area, and 25 million in the Kansai area. It also has a strong infrastructure, and pre-Covid, a fast-growing base of overseas tourists!” Bowers remarked.
The passing of the Integrated Resort (IR) Promotion Law in 2016, when the late Shinzo Abe was the Prime Minister of the country, who was quite vocal in his support for casinos, drew the attention of some of the most prominent gaming operators. While MGM remained true to its ambitions, many others backed off due to several critical uncertainties coupled with the excessive rules and regulations and the onset of the pandemic. Las Vegas Sands was the first to withdraw from the project with Wynn Resorts and Caesars Entertainment following the Nevada-based company in their departure.
Bowers revealed that the company’s presence in the country for nearly a decade has helped the leaders in the company understand the Japanese culture and its law-making. He believes that MGM’s IR project in Osaka will be a major win for all the parties involved, MGM, Japan, and Osaka.
“Our project will be infused with both Japanese sensibility and MGM entertainment and hospitality. Not only do we have the firm belief that we and our partner Orix Corporation can create a project that will be commercially sustainable, delivering very strong returns, but we are convinced that our Osaka IR will ultimately be a political success,” Bowers stated.