Japan IR revenues unlikely to reach Macau levels: Ho

Melco Resorts Chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho does not expect that Japanese IRs will produce revenues on the scale of Macau, but he is nevertheless more than willing to build “a $10 billion plus resort” in either the Kansai or Kanto regions of the country.

Speaking in an interview on CNBC’s Managing Asia program, Ho also predicted that the investment recovery period for Japanese IRs would prove to be longer than five years after opening.

This is in line with the estimate recently published by Wakayama Prefecture that it would take 8.7 years to recover the investment at their smaller, regional location.

Ho also predicted that there would be two major urban IRs and one regional IR licensed in the first round: “I think a front runner certainly is Osaka in the Kansai region. I’m sure there’s going to be a candidate city in the Kanto region, very likely to be Yokohama or somewhere close to the Tokyo airport, but not within Tokyo, and then the regional city is very likely Hokkaido or Nagasaki or even Okinawa.”

The “somewhere close to the Tokyo airport” reference appears to suggest either the Makuhari area or Narita city in Chiba Prefecture. Neither of these two locations, nor Yokohama, have yet openly declared an interest in bidding for an IR, although there have been various movements for years.

Ho’s inclusion of Okinawa is also notable, as such a candidacy assumes that anti-casino incumbent Governor Takeshi Onaga will either be defeated in his re-election effort or will decline to run again because of his mounting health problems.

Ho reiterated that “we want to build the greatest, most amazing, most technologically advanced Integrated Resort ever, and only the megacities have that tourism appeal.”

On the other hand, he noted, “If there were many members in the consortium and there was no other way for us than to be a minority, then we might consider it.”

Ho also observed, “We’ve spent twelve years lobbying, and I’m in Japan, various parts of Japan, every other week for the last year.” Ho says he will relocate permanently to Japan should Melco gain a major IR license in the country.

Related Articles

Macau operators make CSR push amidst coronavirus crisis

As the Covid-19 crisis descended upon, first, China, then the world, the six Macau operators have not been idle in their CSR efforts, in spite of the mandated casino closures and reopenings under difficult economic conditions.

All six Macau operators offering staff bonuses

In a series of announcements in recent days, all six Macau operators have now announced staff bonuses to most of their employees, generally equivalent to one month of extra pay.

MGM China/Melco announce bonus for non-management staff

MGM China and Melco Resorts & Entertainment have announced they will pay a bonus equivalent to one-month's salary to all eligible non-management employees.
Melco Resorts' winning the war on plastic

Melco Resorts’ winning the war on plastic [Infographic]

Earlier this year, Frederic Winckler, an Exec VP/Chief Marketing & Brand Officer at Melco Resorts & Entertainment talked about sustainability as one of three key focuses for the integrated resort operator over the coming years.
Morpheus, Macau

Moody’s sees slow 2021 start for Melco, rising debt

The New Year has brought little reprieve to Macau’s gaming operators, with analysts scaling back their expectations for the first half of 2021 amidst new outbreaks of Covid-19 across the region.

Melco earnings recovery seen sluggish, debt rising: Moody’s

Melco Resorts & Entertainment's earnings outlook for 2021 remains sluggish due to the ongoing pandemic and movement restrictions, while its corporate debt is rising due to expansion plans, Moody's Investor Services says. 

Melco Resorts Finance prices offering of 5.375% senior notes

Melco Resorts Finance Limited has announced that it has priced its international offering of 5.375 percent senior notes due 2029.
Frederic Winckler

Interview with Frederic Winckler: The future of luxury [video]

Frederic Jean-Marie Winckler, executive vice president and chief creative and brand officer of Melco Resorts & Entertainment, talks with Michael Penn, executive editor of AGB Nippon, about the future of the luxury market in Macau and beyond. Among the topics addressed are the growing importance of digitization and the direction of luxury trends within the premium mass segment.
Entertainment City

Competition adds to Covid woes in the Philippines

Operators in Entertainment City had already begun to complain about the impact of rising competition on their margins even prior to the Covid-19 crisis. Now, with the outlook highly uncertain due to border closures and the erosion of the VIP sector, they may have to contend with three new developments pressing ahead.

Studio City sees breakeven at 30-35% of historical GGR

Studio City's gross gambling revenue in October and November was up about 146 percent compared with the third quarter and parent company Studio City Finance says it sees breakeven on an adjusted EBITDA level on reaching between 30 and 35 percent of historical GGR run rates.