The Osaka Prefectural Government released a press statement on Friday regarding the screening of candidates for the Osaka Yumeshima IR. Only one candidate made a bid, the MGM-Orix consortium.
Presumably, this makes it certain that MGM Resorts has now become the “winner” of the once-coveted position as Osaka’s IR operator partner. Certainly, no other operator worked longer and more methodically in building up their Osaka campaign.
At last word, Galaxy Entertainment and Genting Singapore were also in the Osaka race, but both firms quietly dropped out in recent weeks.
Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura explained to reporters that it seems likely the other operators chose to focus on Yokohama with its larger economy.
Indeed, Genting announced that Yokohama was now the focus of its interest in Japan.
While MGM Japan officials will be justifiably proud in reaching an apparent success in Japan’s second-largest urban market, the circumstances seem to be far from ideal.
It will certainly be an embarrassment to the Osaka government that only one IR operator candidate came through with a bid, especially when just a year ago it was the most sought-after municipal government in Japan.
Indeed, the fact that there is only one bidder will necessarily reduce the Osaka government’s leverage in negotiations with the consortium, and there may be serious political ramifications for what may be interpreted as a failure of public policy.