Japan approved the creation of its first-ever legal casino on Friday.
Set to open on Osaka’s artificial Yumeshima island in fall 2029, the integrated resort complex will feature gambling facilities, a hotel, theater, museum, conference center, shopping mall, exhibition hall, ferry terminal and helicopter pad.
The city and prefectural governments of Osaka first proposed the casino in April 2020. The business will initially focus on domestic tourists as other casinos in Asia slowly recover from the pandemic-driven drop of Chinese visitors, according to Nikkei.
Casinos were illegal in Japan until 2018, when an integrated resort law provided exceptions to certain games in approved establishments to attract tourists, according to Reuters.
The resort is planned for construction on a site that measures 492,000 square meters (approximately 122 acres). Around 14 million domestic and six million foreign visitors are expected to bring 520 billion yen (approximately $3.9 billion) in annual revenue.
Approximately 70% of guests in its first three years are expected to be domestic. Osaka, which sits less than an hour away from Kyoto, another famous travel spot, is also home to attractions such as Osaka Castle, the Dotonbori district and Universal Studios Japan.
On a broader scale, the resort is expected to boost Japan’s overall image as a tourist destination.
“[The] integrated resort is important for attracting many tourists, both domestic and international, and to pursue the goal of being a tourism-oriented nation,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in a statement.
Previous attempts to build casinos in Japan often failed due to strong public opposition to gambling, according to AP News.
A recent survey by Nikkei reportedly showed 45% of Osaka residents favor the Osaka project and 38% oppose it.
The resort, which will hold the World Expo in 2025, will cost 1.8 trillion yen ($13.5 billion) to build. U.S. casino giant MGM Resorts International and Japanese partner Orix Corp are leading the project, each with a 40% stake.