In Japan and the plan to bring an $8 billion integrated casino resort to the city of Osaka could reportedly be in danger after an anti-gambling group managed to collect enough signatures to trigger a local referendum on the project.
According to a report from GGRAsia, the anti-casino group revealed earlier this month that it had amassed the names of 208,552 local residents who want the entire Las Vegas-style scheme to be put to a public vote. The source detailed that this was followed by yesterday’s revelation from the Election Administration Commission for Osaka Prefecture that at least 146,472 of these signatures are genuine, which is far above the 2% threshold required to trigger a referendum.
As per Japanese law and the Governor for Osaka Prefecture, Hirofumi Yoshimura, is now reportedly expected to present a referendum plan complete with his own opinion on the proposition to bring an integrated casino resort to a 121-acre portion of the metropolis’ man-made Yumeshima Island. This news purportedly comes after the same politician asserted as recently as June 6 that such a plebiscite would not be necessary and that the finished development will allow the city of almost 2.8 million people to regenerate its economy and provide full-time employment for thousands of locals.
GGRAsia reported that this new referendum drive was initiated approximately four months after the city council for Osaka officially voted against holding a referendum on the plan to bring a giant casino resort to the Honshu community. In addition, the pro-gambling Osaka Restoration Association political group holds 51 seats in the 88-member Osaka Prefectural Assembly and in April purportedly consented to the presentation of the city’s ultimate plan for such a project to the federal government.
Osaka earlier picked American behemoth MGM Resorts International to serve as the operator for its planned integrated casino resort with local officials now reportedly hoping that the Tokyo-based selection panel will rubber stamp their Osaka Bay plan. The Nevada firm has purportedly furthermore committed to working with local financial services giant Orix Corporation in an effort to secure a 40-year license for the envisioned development, which is set to feature an exhibition element and multiple hotels as well as numerous restaurants and non-gambling tourist attractions.
The Chief Financial Officer for Las Vegas-headquartered MGM Resorts International, Jonathan Halkyard, reportedly used an investor conference earlier this month to note that his company is now expecting to receive a final decision on its Osaka plan in the autumn. This purportedly came after Nagasaki Prefecture became the only other Japanese jurisdiction to have officially submitted a bid for one of the nation’s inaugural three casino licenses in advance of an April 28 deadline.