MGM Resorts Delays Move into Japan Due to Coronavirus

In 2018, lawmakers in Japan officially approved a bill to allow three casino-resorts to open in the country. As a result, almost all major casino companies in the United States are trying to break into the Japanese casino industry. According to new reports, MGM Resorts is now delaying its move into the city of Osaka.MGM Resorts Logo

It’s been a long road to start building casinos in this country. With the spread of Covid-19, things have gotten even worse. Today, we’re going to look at why exactly MGM is choosing to stay out of Japan right now.

Let’s get into it!

Japan Continues to Work On Casino Regulations

For many years, Japan had very strict gambling laws set in place that prohibited all casinos. In fact, the laws here banned almost all traditional forms of gambling. In mid-2018, things took a major turn in this country.

That year, lawmakers in Japan decided to legalize casino-resorts. The government announced it would allow three gambling venues to start operating in three different cities. As of now, it looks like Tokyo, Osaka, and Yokohama are the most-likely cities to open casinos.

It was unclear when the first gambling venue would open in Japan. Lawmakers in the country wanted to ensure that issues like gambling addiction and crime were avoided. Since passing the bill, government officials have been working to come up with specific regulations for the country’s casino industry.

Back in December, news broke that Japan was studying the Las Vegas casino model for guidance. It makes sense, as Las Vegas is home to many of the biggest and most successful casinos in the world. This process is still taking place.

Most analysts predict that it will be years before the first casino-resort in the city opens up. Due to the spread of Covid-19, things may be pushed back even further. It now appears that one of the biggest casino companies in the US is postponing its move into the country.

MGM Resorts Offers New Timetable for Osaka Casino

MGM Resorts International is one of the largest casino companies in the world. It operates several major casino-resorts in Las Vegas and has been pushing hard to gain a casino license in Japan. This company has not been granted an official license to run a casino-resort in Osaka yet almost all experts agree that it will eventually be granted the license.

Unfortunately, it may take longer to open a gambling venue in this city than initially expected. City officials have scrapped plans to open the casino-resort by 2025. Now, it appears that MGM plans to build a casino here in 2026.

Ed Bowers, CEO of MGM Resorts Japan LLC, claims that the spread of Covid-19 is not affecting plans to open a casino in Osaka.

“MGM will continue to proceed with our efforts to create a proposal that will be appreciated by the entire Osaka community, taking into account the schedule announced by the government,” he said.

The new coronavirus is already taking a massive toll on the land-based casino industry around the world. In the US, all casinos are now shut down. This is costing many US casino companies millions of dollars every single day.

Other countries in Asia are just beginning to open their casino industries, yet it does not appear they’re bringing in much revenue.

Macau Casinos Struggle to Bring in Players

China was the first country hit by the novel coronavirus now spreading around the world. Within weeks, officials decided to close down all of the casinos in Macau. This was devastating to the local economy, which relies almost entirely on tourism and gambling revenue.

The closure of these Macau casinos also impacted many US casino operators. This includes the aforementioned MGM Resorts International. Just recently, officials in Macau decided to reopen all of the casino-resorts in the city.

Unfortunately, these casinos are having an extremely difficult time generating revenue. There are still heavy restrictions set in place in Macau. Very few gamblers are now flocking to this city and some casinos are in danger of failing.

In time, however, Macau may prove to be the saving grace for some US casino companies. As we’ve already mentioned, all land-based casinos in the United States are now shut down. Many with property in Macau are now relying on the city to help make up for the revenue they are losing in America.

MGM Resorts doesn’t expect to open its Osaka casino anytime soon. At the moment, this company is likely focused on surviving while its US properties are shut down.

Stay tuned for more casino news over the next few months!