Melco favours Osaka for casino
Osaka, Japan – 31 May 2017 –
Lawrence Ho, the billionaire owner of Melco Resorts & Entertainment, told Bloomberg he favours building a casino in Osaka rather than Tokyo because there are more opportunities to develop the smaller Japanese city as an entertainment destination.
Ho is among the industry heavyweights seeking entry to Japan after lawmakers voted in December to open the country to casino gambling. The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which made casino liberalization a priority, hasn’t decided where those casinos will be built nor which companies will operate them, Bloomberg reported.
The prize could be the world’s most lucrative casino market, which CLSA estimates could generate US$25 billion annually. While Melco is considering the viability of Tokyo and nearby Yokohama, the company’s top choice is Osaka and the surrounding Kansai region, home to attractions such as Universal Studios Japan and the city of Kyoto, famed for its Buddhist temples.
Melco is competing for Japanese licenses with rivals that include Las Vegas Sands and MGM Resorts International, both of which are focusing on Tokyo and Yokohama in addition to Osaka.
CLSA’s US$25 billion revenue estimate is based on the country having two urban integrated resorts and 10 regional casinos. By comparison, gaming revenue in Macau last year was US$28 billion, while Las Vegas generated US$6.4 billion.