Melco Resorts & Entertainment Limited may shift its headquarters to Japan if they get a casino licence, Melco's CEO Lawrence Ho said in an interview in Tokyo, in reference of a possible casino resort in Japan.
Japan is regarded the world's next frontier for high-stakes gambling as the country plans to get large-scale resorts. The anticipated resorts will generate billions of dollars for the Japanese economy and global gambling industry. As per estimates, the Japanese casino resorts could make up to $25 billion a year in revenue.
In 2016, Japan had passed a landmark bill to legalise casinos. The government is yet to announce the locations and regulatory framework for the resorts and operations, respectively. A law addressing the issue is expected to land in the parliament by next spring.
MGM Resorts International and Las Vegas Sands Corp are seen as front-runners for casino licences – with both promising to invest up to $10 billion in a Japanese casino resort.
Ho, son of former Macau mogul Stanley Ho, described Melco's Japan aspirations as 'not just any ordinary project, and their most important project outside Macau'. Earlier, he had said that Melco was willing to outspend rivals to win casino rights in Japan. He added that they are hoping for a large stake in any operating consortia and are in talks with Japanese financial institutions that would be interested in being part of a financing group.
Melco owns casinos in Macau, an erstwhile Portuguese colony on China's southern coast, as well as in the Philippines.
The government and casino operators are expecting multi-billion resorts to flourish due to a wealthy domestic population and ever-increasing numbers of foreign tourists.
Since the casino bill has passed, casino operators have been trying to make their presence felt in Japan, organising ritzy promotional events in behind-the-scenes efforts to get the attention of local governments and potential associates.