Melco to Boost Japan Presence with Yokohama Office

Casino resort developer and operator Melco International Development is gearing up preparations for the opening of its third office in Japan, casino news outlet GGRAsia reports.

The move comes as part of the company’s bid to win a license for the establishment of one of the country’s first integrated resorts with dedicated casino-style gaming areas.

Melco already has offices in Tokyo and Osaka. In a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange last week, the company said that “Japan continues to be the group’s core focus and that it is set to soon open an office in Yokohama. The office will be managed by a local leadership team.

Melco’s filing read further that “the group is now fully engaged to explore local partnerships and to further build up our local presence.”

As part of its casino legalization process, Japan now has to select the locations for up to three integrated resorts with dedicated gambling areas and the companies that will build and operate the properties.

Many believe that Osaka might be selected as the preferred location for the country’s first integrated casino resort. The city’s bid to host a property of this kind has strong support from city and prefecture officials. Osaka is pitching the man-made Yumeshima island as the potential location for the casino complex. The island will also host World Expo 2025.

It is also important to note that Melco has been one of the strong contenders for the development of an integrated resort in Osaka.

Dedicated to Entering Japan

Melco’s Chairman and CEO, Lawrence Ho, said in last week’s filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that his company’s expansion in Japan is an important part of its growth strategy. Melco currently operates integrated resorts in Macau and the Philippines and is building a resort in the Republic of Cyprus.

While the developer has made it known long ago that Osaka and the city’s Yumeshima Island are its primary focus, it has also been exploring other potential locations. For instance, Melco participated earlier this year in Yokohama’s request-for-information process.

It should be noted that the Mayor of Yokohama announced last month that the city would participate in the race for hosting one of Japan’s first three casino resorts. The city opened a request-for-information process this past spring, inviting developers to submit comments on whether they would be interested in bidding for a license for the development of a resort in Yokohama. A total of 12 companies, both local and international, participated in the process.

Yokohama’s announcement that it would seek authorization to host an integrated resort quickly drew the attention of Las Vegas casino giant Las Vegas Sands. The company announced late last month that it would abandon its previous plan to bid for an Osaka license and would instead focus its attention on Yokohama and Tokyo.

It was last month again when Melco announced that it has formed a new partnership in Yokohama that would help it secure greater exposure of its brand ahead of the official start of the casino license race. The major resort operator revealed that it has become a Community Presenting Partner of local football club Yokohama F. Marinos.

Among other things, the partnership will see Melco and Marinos create and implement jointly different community programs and events in Yokohama and the rest of the country.

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