During an earnings conference call, Melco Chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho seemed to acknowledge that MGM Resorts’ tie-up with the Orix Corporation would make them tough to beat for the Osaka IR license and that Melco was beginning to focus its attention on other parts of Japan.
“We have seen the MGM partnership with Orix and I think of course that puts them in a very good position,” Ho stated, “But at the same time, between the various regions, we have had a lot of dialogue with potential partners and stakeholders and associations.”
He added, “We will continue to monitor, not only the Osaka bid, which is probably going to come first, but also more importantly, the Kanto bid and also the regional bid.”
Melco opened an Osaka office over a year ago and for a long time appeared mainly focused in that region. However, Ho’s emphasis that “more importantly” there would also be a Kanto bid and a regional bid suggests that the strategy has been reconsidered, perhaps out of concern that MGM has made deeper inroads in Osaka.
Nevertheless, Ho continues to state that Japan is “our single most important initiative and we spent significant resources and time there.”