Osaka Mayor Ichiro Matsui announced at a Thursday press conference that an extra six months would be necessary for IR operators to submit all of their plans for the RFP process, and that realistically the coronavirus impact will result in a one or two year delay in the opening of the Yumeshima IR, perhaps to 2028.
The current plans call for the IR to open by the end of 2026. As recently as March Matsui had been aiming for an opening before the 2025 World Expo.
“The spread of the new coronavirus has made it impossible to meet with the business operators, and the conclusion of the agreement will be delayed, affecting the schedule,” Matsui noted. He also indicated that the municipal government had heard from the operator side that they would have difficulty meeting the current deadlines.
Only the consortium led by MGM Japan and the Orix Corporation are bidding for a partnership with the Osaka government.
Matsui also indicated that his belief is that the national government will likely extend the period that it will accept licensing proposals from local governments beyond the current July 30, 2021, deadline.
This Dossier results from the “Life After POGOs” editorial project by Asia Gaming Brief which culminated with a pop-up digital forum on 9th December to discuss potentials ramifications in the industry.
The Yokohama City Council has begun its deliberations on whether or not to hold a popular referendum on IR development. Despite gaining more than three times the needed number of resident signatures, Mayor Fumiko Hayashi has asked that the referendum be rejected.
Over the years, many of the answers have been remarkably prescient in their forecasts for the near-term direction of Asia’s gaming industry. However, we can safely say that no one came anywhere close to guessing
what 2020 may have had in store.
While nowhere in the world has escaped the economic fallout from the Covid-19 crisis, Macau has been hit harder than most, with forecasts for gross domestic product to shrink more than 50 percent this year.