Melco to Shift Headquarters to Japan if Granted with Casino Operating License

After reiterating his company’s willingness to enter Japan at the beginning of October, now the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Melco Resorts & Entertainment, Lawrence Ho, now promised to move the Group’s headquarters to Japan in case it is granted with an operating license there.

At a time when global gaming companies have been making serious efforts to win the favor of the Japanese authorities, one of the biggest casino groups in Macau has also pledged its commitment to enter the local market by getting a license to run a casino. In an interview referring to a possible construction of Melco casino resort in Japan, Mr. Ho said that the company would move its core management team and headquarters there.

The statement made by Melco’s CEO comes at a time when the Japanese authorities have been considering whether to give their permission to large casino resorts which are seen as sources of massive billion-dollar revenue for both the country and the global gambling industry. Reportedly, such large-scale casino resorts in Japan could generate an annual revenue of up to $25 billion.

Melco has not been the only global gambling company interested in expanding into Japan. US operators MGM Resorts International and Las Vegas Sands have also been considered as frontrunners for casino operating licenses, with both of them revealing an interest to make up to $10-billion investments in local casino resorts.

Japan Gambling Market’s Potential

The great potential of the local gambling market has provoked the interest of a large number of global casino and gaming brands, which have been aiming to explore Japan as an attractive destination for many local and foreign customers.

The country has already passed a bill legalizing casinos late in 2016, with the piece of legislation being seen as a cornerstone in Japanese gambling market’s history. The casino law was passed in December 2016 despite the massive public disapproval. Still, local authorities have not come to a decision regarding locations and regulation of the resorts that will be established as large-scale projects hosting various amenities, including hotels, casinos, conference and entertainment space.

A parliamentary debate on the next phase of casino legislation in the country was delayed due to the General election in October, which was won by the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The afore-mentioned details are still being discussed, with a special law on the issue being expected to officially pass through local parliament in the spring of 2018. This would provide global gambling companies with the chance to apply for operating licenses next summer.

The first casino resort in Japan, on the other hand, is expected to open as early as 2023.

According to some experts, the country is to probably first grant two casino resort licenses in the cities of Yokohama and Osaka. Recently, a number of international gambling companies have tried to woo the country’s authorities with various presentations to both the central and local governments in order to prove their intentions to invest in large casino resorts.

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