Melco putting their chips on Osaka as Japan gaming bill nears completion

By Harrison Sayers

Hong Kong based Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited has announced the opening of an office in Osaka, Japan, reportedly with the intention of spending up to $10bn to construct an integrated resort on the cities Yumeshima site.

The establishment of Melco’s Osaka office comes after revelations that officials from the Japanese government (DIET) are very close to  creating a bill that would see the construction of integrated resorts in the country. The government is said be planning to submit the finished bill to parliament on April 27 2018.

As part of this process, the majority ruling party, the Liberal Democrat Party, and their coalition partners, Komeito, have agreed upon mandatory casino entrance fees for residents which have been set at ¥6,000 ($55.73). 

Proposals also include limiting the number of casinos that can be constructed to 3 with the maximum visitations which residents can make to casinos capped at 3 a week and 10 a month. 

In the most recent development, the Japanese government recently also announced its intention  to fine companies ¥500 million ($4.7m) if it is found that they have obtained these potential casino licenses fraudulently.

At the opening of  the Osaka office, Ako Shiraogawa, president of Melco Japan reaffirmed the company's committment to building an integrated resort in Japan, saying that “We will make the necessary investments. Even if severe conditions are imposed and the world’s strictest regulations are put in place.”

The Osaka office, which opened on April 9, will serve as a headquarters for Chairman and CEO, Lawrence Ho, when his company launches its bid for a casino license, when and if the Japanese government allows them.

In an interview with the Nikkei Asian Review,  Ho said:  “If we are lucky enough to be selected for one of the major cities, we will be spending more than $10 billion.”

Lawrence Ho’s comments echoed those made in February by Sheldon Adelson, Chairman of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, at the CLSA Japan Forum in Tokyo. Adelson claimed that Japan was “the ultimate of business opportunities” and that his company might have to spend as “much as $10bn” to develop an integrated resort.


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