One of the largest integrated resort operators in the world, Melco Resorts & Entertainment, is about to open new office in Yokohama in an effort to increase its presence in Japan and thus improve its chances to score one of the three IR licenses that are to be granted next spring. It will be the company’s third office in Japan, the other two being located in Osaka and Tokyo.
Melco Is Putting Japan at the Center of Its Attention
Lawrence Ho, CEO and Chairman at Melco Resorts, has stated that his company was determined to obtain one of the IR licenses as it views Japan as a crucial territory where they intend to build a future.
“Japan continues to be the group’s core focus. With offices in Tokyo and Osaka and an upcoming one in Yokohama along with a local [Japan] leadership team, the group is now fully engaged to explore local partnerships and to further build up our local presence.”
Adding another office in Japan, namely in its second largest city and one of the potential locations for the new IR, is just the latest of the steps Melco has been taking to strengthen its position in the race. When the operator announced that it will be acquiring nearly 20% of Crown Resorts, many analysts expressed belief that it would help Melco’s standing in the competition for IR development. Ironically enough, that transaction is currently being investigated and may have the exact opposite effect.
Nevertheless, Melco believes it remains a strong contender and has already started working on designs that will be included in its proposal, even showing the first outline of what the IR could look like. Reportedly, the draft incorporated a “unique Japanese touch”.
Yokohama Has Confirmed Its Interest in Building an IR
Even though the seat of Melco’s newest office has been in the running as one of the possible locations for the IR from the start, for a long time it was uncertain whether it would actually see an IR due to strong opposition from its trade groups and citizens.
However, last month, Yokohama’s mayor, Fumiko Hayashi, announced that despite the protests, the city would indeed like to host the IR.
“We must look to Yokohama’s future, the 20 to 30 years ahead. I’ve come to the conclusion that in order to achieve growth and development, we need integrated resort (IR).”
As the race for a license continues, the competition seems to intensify among the main contenders, which besides Melco Resorts, includes Las Vegas Sands, or Galaxy Entertainment. On the other hand, some of the previously interested parties decided to pull out of the running, such as Caesars Resorts, currently undertaking a merger with Eldorado Resorts.