An eSports stadium would “very likely” be a “key component” of any major market IR that Melco Resorts & Entertainment would build in Japan, CFO Geoff Davis told Nikkei Asian Review in a recent interview.
Melco opened an esports stadium at its Studio City IR in Macau in July, emerging as a pioneer for this kind of customer development strategy.
All of the operators interested in the Japanese IR market are thinking carefully about the non-casino component of their proposed facilities, as this aspect is likely to exercise a strong influence on who wins their bids and who loses.
One risk for Melco’s strategy is that esports have not so far taken hold in Japan to the same degree that they have in some other Asian nations—but perhaps this might change by the mid-2020s when the first Japanese IRs are opening their doors. Also, an esports stadium might become a draw for younger people to visit from the Asian mainland.
Other international IR operators have also mentioned the possibility of building esports facilities in Japan, though Melco appears to regard this concept as somewhat more central to its strategies.
Singapore police have busted at least two illegal gambling operations in the past week, while across Asia authorities have moved to stamp out illicit activities, from raids on premier league matches in India, to illegal number forecasting in Malaysia.