The global gambling industry’s focus is now on Japan where its potential is skyhigh. Among the forerunning in the race to win gambling licenses are U.S. operators MGM Resorts International and Las Vegas Sands Corp. Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd is also a worthy contender in this race.
On Friday, the CEO of Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd stated, if the company were to win a license to a run a casino in Japan, said to be the world’s next frontier for high stakes gambling, it will relocate its headquarters to Japan.
“I would personally move here while we are building it, and we would move the core management team and headquarters here” said Lawrence Ho in reference to a possible casino resort in Japan.
As per analysts, Japan’s move allowing the creation of large scale resorts could potentially generate billions of dollars for its economy and could go a long way to contribute towards the global gambling industry. Japan’s casino resorts have a earning potential of up to $25 billion a year said analysts.
The development comes in the wake of Japan passing a landmark bill in 2016, that legalize casinos. A law which covers issues related to this is widely expected to pass through its parliament in the spring of 2018.
In February 2017, Ho, son of erstwhile Macau magnate Stanley Ho, had said Melco was willing to outspend rivals to win operating rights in Japan.
In the competition to win licenses are also U.S. operators Las Vegas Sands Corp and MGM Resorts International. Both have said they would invest up to $10 billion in a Japanese casino resort.
Casino operators in Japan have significantly boosted their profiles in Japan and have beefed up staffing and promotional events in order to woo local governments and firms as potential partners.
“It’s almost like ‘speed dating’ – sometimes we go into their offices and see our competitors in the waiting rooms,” said Ho.
He went on to add, he hopes for as large a stake as position, is open to a flexible approach and has already sounded out firms in the financial sectors, real estate and transport.
“We already have had discussions with Japanese financial institutions that would be interested to be part of a financing group,” said Ho, without elaborating.
The Japanese government as well as casino operators expect resorts to thrive since Japan regularly attracts large crowds of foreign tourists and has a wealthy population.
“It’s not just any ordinary project, and will become the most important project outside Macau,” said Ho.