Melco Drops Osaka To Focus On Yokohama For Integrated Resort Bid
The leading Japanese cities are scrambling to become one of the first three cities to get a multi-billion dollar integrated casino resort developed within their borders. The current legislation requires foreign casino operators to partner with a local company in order to apply for a license and develop an integrated resort.
Melco Entertainment is one of those operators hoping to break into Japan. Melco made a huge announcement this week stating that it was no longer interested in developing an integrated resort in Osaka and will go with a “Yokohama First” policy.
This move was announced by CEO Lawrence Ho Yau Lung who clarified that the Yokohama First policy meant that the company will be fully focusing their efforts on the Yokohama proposal instead of having a secondary location as a backup plan. Melco’s move will be in conjunction with its plan to open an office in Yokohama.
Melco has been showing signs of favoring Osaka since 2017, when Mr. Ho said that the Kansai region which is where Osaka is located would be a great location for a casino resort. Earlier this year, Melco confirmed that it would be bidding for the Osaka partnership along with five other companies.
The fact that Melco suddenly decided to drop Osaka from its plans comes as a big surprise as it narrows Melco’s chances of obtaining a license.
Mr. Ho thanks the Osaka government and the city of Osaka for being very considerate in all their discussions held in the past few years and appreciated their commitment and professionalism.
Going Up Against Las Vegas Sands
Now that Melco has decided to refocus all of its efforts on Yokohama, this will put it at odds with a familiar adversary, Las Vegas Sand Corp. The US-based company is also a rival to Melco in the Macau gaming market.
Las Vegas Sands announced that they would focus on Tokyo and Yokohama for what could be a $10 billion dollar casino resort. Melco has so far not confirmed as to how much they would be willing to invest to develop an integrated resort in Yokohama. Sands Corp has also confirmed in the past that they were not interested in Osaka.
The decision by Melco to drop Osaka from their plans makes it easier for MGM Resorts who is very keen on developing a casino resort in Osaka.