Melco Resorts’ deep roots with Chinese customers would give it a distinct advantage when it comes to attracting visitors to Japan should it win a Japanese IR license, according to the company’s Chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho.
“I think our track record on entertainment, our focus on premium guests and the fact that we have a huge China database” make Melco a leading contender to operate a Japan IR, Ho explained during a media event ahead of Wednesday’s premiere of new Studio City resident stunt show Elekron.
“I am not saying we’re not going to attract visitors from other parts of the world but we do have a huge China database and I think what will really drive Japan’s tourism growth is going to be its closest neighbor.”
Ho added that “what differentiates Melco from our competitors is that we want to continue to experiment. We’re very lucky to have gaming revenues to subsidize some of these [entertainment] investments.”
The Melco boss also provided clarification on last week’s decision to cease VIP gaming at Studio City from January 2020, pointing to the need for a more efficient distribution of the company’s gaming table allocation. The focus by flagship Macau IR City of Dreams on the Premium Mass segment, with Studio City catering for the mass market, laid the groundwork for the decision, Ho said, although he didn’t discard a change in strategy if more gaming tables were granted in the future.
In the meantime, Melco has quickly put a recent allocation of 40 more gaming tables by the government to good use, having previously “relocated 40 gaming tables from within City of Dreams general mass area into Morpheus,” upon the latter’s opening in 2018.
“These 40 new tables are being put back into the general gaming area for City of Dreams and are in operation as we speak,” Ho said.
He also confirmed that the development of Phase 2 of Studio City, a non-gaming project devised to extend the property’s entertainment options, has been temporarily put on hold pending the approval of some administrative formalities.