While a few operators remain in the race to build the first integrated resort (IR) casino in Osaka, MGM appears to be the frontrunner in the bidding race. A consortium combining MGM Resorts International and Japan’s Orix Ltd places them as the likely favorite for the casino bid.

According to Alex Bumazhny of Fitch Ratings Inc., “The exit of Las Vegas Sands and Melco from Osaka certainly increases the probability that the MGM/Orix consortium, which was already a strong contender, wins the RFP (request-for-proposal) there,” he said in a statement.

While other big players have dropped Osaka in favor of a ‘Yokohama First’ strategy, several Japanese cities eagerly await their first IR casino and the huge revenue boost that follows. The few remaining operators who have not yet pulled out of Osaka include Genting and Wynn.

Yokohama’s position as Japan’s second-largest city – and its proximity to its largest city, Tokyo – make it a prime location for a new IR casino. In contrast, Osaka’s proposed location is a 116-acre artificial island with no amenities nearby. The Yamashita Wharf in Yokohama already has IR support amenities nearby.

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A Massachusetts native, blogger Angeline Everett grew up in the Allston neighborhood of Boston and earned a degree in casino management from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. After graduating, Angeline moved to Atlantic City where she joined the young team at the Borgata Casino as a compliance representative, while blogging on the side. After a few years in the back office, Angeline moved to the floor to work first at a casual poker dealer and later casual poker floor supervisor. Fascinated with games of chance since she was a child, Angeline currently divides her time between blogging and work on her first book.