Melco Resorts Chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho says Japan represents the perfect opportunity to introduce a new wave of world-class integrated resorts utilizing “artificial intelligence and technology” to improve the customer experience.
In a revealing interview with the South China Morning Post, Mr Ho discussed his company’s attraction to Japan, which he sees as a key strategic location for Melco Resorts to continue its Asian expansion.
In particular he sees Japan as an opportunity to transform the global casino business and make a similar impact on the industry as luminaries such as Sands boss Sheldon Adelson, Wynn Resorts Chairman Steve Wynn and his own father, Macau casino king Stanley Ho.
“In our industry, there are so many legends like my father, Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn, they all created something,” Mr Ho told the SCMP, adding it is time “to improve the guest experience and to incorporate more technology into our services … to use artificial intelligence and technology to customize the experience for customers.”
Mr Ho said he expects Japan to announce which companies have won a license to operate casinos around June 2018 and reaffirmed his belief in the opportunities the country offers.
“Japan is an amazing place but it just got 20 million visitors a year,” he said. “Look at Macau, it got well over 30 million visitors. Hong Kong got more than 40 million visitors. There is a lot of potential in the market.”
Mr Ho has made no secret of his desire to win a license in Japan, telling Inside Asian Gaming earlier this year that, “Japan, for me, really is whatever it takes. We’ll go all in.”
Speaking to the SCMP, the gaming tycoon added that Asia remained very much Melco Resorts’ focus moving forward.
“We had many opportunities go into Las Vegas, but every time we shied away from that (because) the greatest development opportunities for years to come will be in Asia,” he said.
“We have a strong Asian focus, and we are a brand that is well known in China.”