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MGM Resorts confident on Osaka IR despite gaming floor only covering 3% of property

MGM Resorts’ Global Development President, Ed Bowers, says the operator’s new IR – set to open in Japan’s Osaka region in 2029 – will be a success, despite strict Japanese gaming regulations meaning the casino floor can only cover 3% of IR space. 

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Bowers details the unique and challenging rules & regulations operating an IR in Japan would entail. During his keynote speech at G2E Asia 2022, Bowers said: “Japan has been very ambitious. It wanted to take the best of Singapore and take it to another level.  

“The Government required bidders to develop integrated resorts that would attract foreign tourists, just like Singapore. But also require operators to actively promote and send foreign tourists to attractions in other areas of Japan.  

“Therefore, IRs in Japan are not their own attractions, but part of a tourism ecosystem. They need to encourage visitation across that ecosystem. 

“Furthermore, the industry has to address Japanese Government concerns over problem gambling. Concerns have led to some of the strictest and most detailed rules in the area.  

“Because of these goals, facilities that are required by the Japanese Government are much more detailed than in other countries. The casino floor itself is required not to take up more than 3% of the overall gross floor area, in a single continuous space.” 

Despite this restricted gambling floor space, Bowers feels the casino can reach the desired financial returns from MGM Resorts' incoming multi-billion resort.  

He added: “We think we can work with the 3% casino size, and still deliver the expected level of GGR (gross gaming revenue).” 

Seeing whether MGM Resorts succeeds in Osaka is still some way off, so one would expect the political and gaming landscape to shift in Asia once again, come 2029.  


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