Immediately before the Golden Week holidays, on April 27 and 28, the inaugural Kansai IR Showcase was held in central Osaka, hosted by by Tradeshow Organizers, Inc. The top political leaders of Osaka opened the event, and large-scale exhibits were presented by six major international casino operators.
The ribbon-cutting at the outset featured supportive comments from both Osaka Governor Ichiro Matsui and Osaka Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura. The keynote lecture was given by Toru Hashimoto, who founded the Osaka Ishin political movement that had brought both the governor and mayor to power.
The six international operators on exhibit were Galaxy Entertainment, Las Vegas Sands, Melco Resorts & Entertainment, MGM Resorts, Genting Singapore, and Caesars Entertainment. Among the six, the Melco exhibit clearly appeared to be the most expensive and elaborate, led by a VR and AR display featuring dinosaurs.
Some international operators interested in Osaka, such as Hard Rock, chose to skip this particular event, mainly because there was considerable doubt about whether or not the organizers could make it worthwhile.
In the end, it was a partial success, especially because the top local political leaders ultimately proved willing to attend.
The opening day—the Business Day—was clearly the more successful, pulling in about 5,500 people with interest in participating in the IR industry. The second day, which was aimed at drawing the general public, was more disappointing with fewer than 4,000 visitors in spite of considerable local media attention. (AGB Nippon)