Wynn Resorts drops out of race for Osaka gaming license to focus efforts on Tokyo region Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · October 15, 2019 at 4:38 am Wynn Resorts became the latest U.S. casino operator to end the bidding for a gaming license in Osaka, Japan, paving a clear path for rival MGM Resorts International. In statement Monday, the company said it would focus its attention on Japan’s Kanto region, which includes the Greater Tokyo market and several smaller cities. The move comes roughly six weeks after Las Vegas Sands Corp. said it would not pursue building an integrated resort in Osaka and would instead turn its attention toward Tokyo and Yokohama. Also, Caesars Entertainment said on Aug. 29 it was dropping its nearly decade-long effort in Japan to focus its efforts toward completing a $17.3 billion merger with Eldorado Resorts. Meanwhile, Hong Kong-based Melco Resorts & Entertainment said on Sept. 18 it would not bid on Osaka and focus on a “Yokohama First” strategy. “Wynn Resorts is grateful for the many months of positive dialogue we have enjoyed with the City of Osaka and its citizens, and we appreciate the gracious hospitality we have received from them,” the company said in a statement. “Although we have decided not to pursue an integrated city resort in Osaka at this time, we wish the city the very best and look forward to following its continued success.” In addition to the company’s two casinos in Las Vegas, Wynn operates three resorts in Macau and is spending more than $2.5 billion on the Crystal Pavilion complex adjacent to Wynn Palace on Cotai. The glass and steel structure includes two hotel towers with 1,300 rooms, a theater, an Asian gourmet food pavilion, and art sculpture gardens. Japan has long been viewed as a potentially lucrative country for casino gaming, with predictions of up to $20 billion to $25 billion in annual gaming revenue, second only to Macau. Caesars, MGM Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, and Wynn Resorts have all been active in pursuing an opportunity in the market. In 2017, Japan lawmakers approved legislation for three integrated resort complexes, which would include casinos, hotels, restaurants and non-gaming attractions, such as retail, conference facilities and entertainment. Japanese leadership has still not formulated the request for proposal process nor officially settled on locations. In a statement, MGM Resorts – without mentioning Wynn or Las Vegas Sands – said the Osaka market remains the company’s top priority. “MGM Resorts remains deeply committed to pursuing an integrated resort in Osaka, Japan. We announced our ‘Osaka First’ strategy and have not wavered from that plan,” the company said. “We have always had confidence in our position, as what we will bring to Osaka is something only MGM Resorts can deliver.” Investment community analysts – most of whom are attending the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas – did not comment on the development Monday, however, its believed the departure of Wynn, Caesars, Las Vegas Sands and Melco gives MGM a better chance of securing an Osaka gaming concession. Shares of Wynn Resorts closed at $112.32 on the Nasdaq, down 46 cents or 0.41%. MGM shares were down 11 cents or 0.39% to close at $27.97 on the New York Stock Exchange. Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.