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Japan – Melco Crown to spend ‘whatever we need to win’ to secure Japan licence

By - 22 February 2017

Having unveiled plans for potential Integrated Resort Casinos in Umekita and Yumeshima, Melco Crown has come out fighting in Japan where saying it will outspend rival casino operators to win a Japanese casino licence.

“We’ll absolutely spend whatever we need to win,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Lawrence Ho said. “Melco Crown Entertainment has always had a keen interest in Japan. Indeed, I personally, together with my executive management team, have been closely looking at this market for over a decade. We are thrilled by the active approach of the Japanese government on the recently passed integrated resort legislation.”

Geoffrey Stuart Davis, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, gave a sneak peek of the inspiration behind the potential concept of its integrated resorts for the locations in Umekita and Yumeshima, Osaka.

He said: “Melco Crown Entertainment has long been known for its innovative architectural designs that thoughtfully and harmoniously reflect the culture and beauty of the city’s landscape. In past years, we have explored several potential locations in Osaka, Tokyo, and Yokohama. Today, I am pleased to present our cutting edge destination concept. The design for Umekita was the creation of the late Dame Zaha Hadid, DBE, who embraced simplicity and sustainability. Her work would help create an iconic new landmark in Japan. We are however open-minded as to location, and respectfully look for guidance from the Japanese government regarding the approach to building and operating integrated resorts in Japan because we believe they know what is best for the Japanese people and the national and local economies.”

Mr. Davis also provided insights on the Japan integrated resorts outlook and said: “We believe that a culturally-sensitive, socially responsible, innovative integrated resort operator who also recognizes the importance of collaboration and partnership is the key element in an IR development. Melco Crown Entertainment and its affiliates have a proven track record in successful collaborations, including the Melco-Crown joint venture which secured the last of only 6 casino licenses in Macau back in 2006; a strategic partnership with SM/Belle Corporation, the Philippines’ largest corporation and real estate developer, on the IR development “City of Dreams Manila” in 2014; and as part of a multinational consortium with Hard Rock International and Cyprus Phasouri (Zakaki) Limited, member of the CNS Group, winning the IR bid in 2016 to build and operate the first casino resort in Cyprus. We have also teamed with many global brands – Warner Bros., DC Comics, DreamWorks, NOBU, Franco Dragone, Tenmasa and Kanesaka. Leveraging our successful relationships with different partners, we hope to engage and closely collaborate with local partners and communities in Japan, and will fully support the Japanese government in creating a truly inspiring, world-class integrated resort consistent with government’s visions.”

Talking about his company, Mr. Ho said: “Melco Crown Entertainment’s integrated resort properties and facilities have always been the pride of the cities where we operate. We are never content to replicate past successes but focus on developing world-class integrated resorts that celebrate the culture and uniqueness of our partner cities. Our innovation and 5-star-plus service culture have garnered many international and Asian awards and recognition, as validated by the fact that we have the most Michelin-starred restaurants and the most Forbes five-star hotel facilities in Macau.”
In regards to the concern on potential social issues related to the IR development, Ho continued, “The operation of integrated resorts is a highly regulated industry. With integrated resorts in multiple jurisdictions, Melco Crown Entertainment has consistently demonstrated its industry leadership in respect of social safeguards and has upheld the highest standards of corporate governance and social responsibility. The Company has widely-recognized responsible gaming programs that proactively educate the public and its employees, protect against problem gambling, and guard communities against criminal elements.”

“Our commitment in Japan is for the long term. MCE is excited and honoured to have the opportunity to take part in this transformational moment for Japan. We are determined to work with the Japanese government and local partners and communities to create the city’s first integrated resort which delivers long lasting benefits to Japan. As I have said, there currently is no predetermined cap on our intended investment in Japan; our focus is on uniqueness, great design and world-class entertainment offerings. I prefer not to constrain our dreams, ambitions, passion and commitment in Japan with price tags, particularly at this early stage. With our unsurpassed track record of developing and operating highly sophisticated and truly unique integrated resorts around the world, I am confident that MCE’s ultimate vision will support the government’s aspirations for an integrated resort that is unique to Japan and delights its people, as well as drawing tourists from around the world.”

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