Ground preparation has officially begun for the planned integrated resort in Osaka, which will be located next to the Osaka expo site. However, this step forward is overshadowed by issues that have caused delays in the construction of the foreign pavilion for the 2025 expo. The work on the man-made island in Osaka Bay, Yumeshima, started less than 500 days before the scheduled opening of the expo on April 13, 2025. The expo is facing logistical issues, labor shortages, and rising costs, raising concerns about whether the integrated resort can be built on time.
On December 4, the municipal and prefectural governments announced that the first cement was being poured into the ground at a 21-hectare area on Yumeshima to prevent liquefaction and firm up the base where the casino facilities will be built. The land liquefaction countermeasures are expected to be completed by the end of the fiscal year starting in April 2027 at a cost of $173.4 million or approximately ¥25.5 billion.
The governor of Osaka, Hirofumi Yoshimura, stated that full-scale construction of the resort is scheduled to begin in the spring of the following year. The integrated resort is a joint project between MGM Resorts Int. and ORIX and will include shopping areas, hotels, congress facilities, and a casino. According to current plans, construction will continue simultaneously with liquefaction countermeasures, with completion expected by the beginning of the summer season in 2030, and the resort slated to open that fall.
However, the project has already faced setbacks, and the original opening date of 2029 had to be altered due to delays in obtaining central government approval. Concerns about expenses for both projects remain, with an increase in the cost of transporting construction materials leading to rising overall expenses. The overall cost of the integrated resort has increased to ¥1.27 trillion, taken care of by the joint project of ORIX and MGM.
The contract with ORIX and MGM allows for the possibility of halting the project if expenses continue to rise. The operator of the integrated resort will be responsible for handling demand fluctuations, and in case of voluntary withdrawal from the project, a withdrawal fee will be required.
Once completed, the integrated resort is projected to generate ¥520 billion in income per year, with nearly 80% coming from the casino. The construction of the resort, including liquefaction countermeasures, will occur during the 6-month expo, which is expected to attract over 28.2 million visitors, including 3.5 million foreigners.