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Lawrence Ho pitches “City of the Future” for Japan

Lawrence Ho, chairman and CEO of Melco Resorts & Entertainment, held a press conference on Thursday in Tokyo to reiterate his desire to build an IR in Japan, which he dubs the “City of the Future.”

The bulk of the hour-long event, which was attended by well over a hundred people at a luxury hotel in the Otemachi business district, consisted of Mr. Ho presenting the past achievements and the future vision of his company, as well as an explanation of his life-long interest in Japan and Japanese culture.

“There are so many elements that I love about Japanese architecture, Japanese landscaping, the culture, tea ceremony… If we were able to build an IR here, it would truly be a dream come true,” he stated.

According to Mr. Ho, the main characteristic which sets Melco apart from other IR operators is its genuine commitment to elite quality as opposed to scale: “You want the right, affluent tourism—people who can actually contribute. More affluent tourists are more sophisticated. They can appreciate and understand the culture a lot more than just the masses.”

There did not appear to be any breakthrough announcements at the press event, although it did provide an opportunity for Mr. Ho to personally introduce his Japan team, led by Ms. Ako Shiraogawa.

However, the operator had the chance to speak about its new biometric intelligence system which it has developed for use in its proposed IR. Melco also announced that it would offer the Japanese government back-end access to and data-sharing with these systems free-of-charge "to ensure the most effective collaboration in safeguarding against potential gaming-related social issues."

Commenting on the system, Ms. Shiraogawa said, “This proprietary technology demonstrates our deep commitment to developing and implementing practical solutions for the government’s ongoing consideration of how to uphold socially safe integrated resorts. Its back-end technology can be updated as regulations evolve and on the front-end, the state-of-the-art biometric interface eliminates nearly all risk of human error.”

Mr. Ho concluded, “We dream big, think different and deliver more. What does that mean in practice? Our resorts add to their communities. The City of the Future will make its surroundings even better. It will cultivate sustainable local consumption. And it will attract the most valuable type of tourism – mass luxury.

“In the months ahead, we look forward to sharing more on how our teams and partners, our entire approach, is oriented around delivering the answer to one simple question: How do we give Japan not just the best, but the kind of offer that will keep getting better?”

A video of Mr. Ho’s presentation is available at this link.

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