Casino revenue in Macau tumbled over eight percent in November. While the gambling hub is battling with slumping revenue, in an interview with Bloomberg, Lawrence Ho, chief of regional casino giant Melco, confirmed that ongoing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong have been taking a toll on Macau’s GGR.
When asked if the protests in Hong Kong impact business in Macau, Mr. Ho said that yes it does. However, he said that the US-China trade war is a bigger culprit. He said that he was hopeful and looking forward to a truce between the two economic giants.
Earlier in the year in August, Wynn Resorts’ CEO Matthew Maddox had also expressed concern over pro-democracy protests impacting revenues in Macau.
Commenting on his company’s strategy in Macau, Mr. Ho said that Melco remains fairly immune to both the protests in Hong Kong and the US-China trade war, thanks to their company’s policy of focussing more on the rising middle class in mainland China and relying extensively on Junket pulling VIP visitors to casinos.
Commenting on the future course of action in Macau, Melco chief emphasized on ‘organic growth’ as the focus of the company and also benefiting from Macau emerging as a regional tourism hub apart from being a gambling destination.
Melco is currently focussed on winning a casino license in Japan. The company recently announced its “Yokohama First” strategy.
Commenting on Melco’s plans for a casino in Japan, Mr. Ho said: “It’s exciting times in Japan right now. Because it’s really been a 15-year journey for Melco and 2020 will be the year we move forward with Integrated Resorts.”
“I‘m in Japan almost every week and we are preparing for the next year.”
Explaining why Melco has an edge over its competitors – Vegas Sands in particular – Meclo chief said that they are a 21st-century company and unlike traditional gaming companies they have a globalized strategy that respects local cultures and traditions.
He also said that Melco is a company that believes in harmonious partnerships, be it in Macau, Australia, or the Philippines for that matter.
Melco chief also confirmed that the kind of casino resort he is looking to build in Japan will cost at least $10 billion.
“It’s a lifelong dream to build a casino resort in Japan,” he concluded.
Japan is poised to host three casino resorts in the first phase. The Japanese casino market is expected to gross about $8 billion in annual revenue and would be the third-largest market after Macau and Nevada.