IR operators woo Osaka

With Osaka’s Yumeshima increasingly looking to be the big prize in the first round of anticipated IR licensing, major operators have been stepping up their campaigns to woo the local government and the business community.

The latest move has been made by MGM Resorts, which became a sponsor for the Dotonbori River Festival, held this past weekend. This two-day event brings together food, music, dance, comedy shows, and other entertainment to this well-known district of Osaka.

Ed Bowers, representative officer and CEO of MGM Resorts Japan explains to Asia Gaming Brief: “We intend to partner with a number of small and medium-sized businesses in Osaka at various levels within the resort. Our sponsorship of the Dotonbori River Festival gave us the opportunity to meet local leaders and residents in the Minami area of Osaka to discuss ways for us to collaborate in the future.”

Earlier this month, a rival suitor, Melco Resorts & Entertainment, announced that it had become an official partner with Osaka in its bid for the 2025 World Expo, thus employing a similar strategy of engagement.

For its part, at the beginning of the month, Las Vegas Sands showed its firepower by bringing David Beckham to Osaka, and in early September Sheldon Adelson himself paid a courtesy visit to the local authorities.