Asian casino operator, Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited, has reportedly announced the creation of a special investment fund that it intends to utilize in order to realize non-gaming and hospitality projects in Japan.

According to reports from GGRAsia and Inside Asian Gaming, the Hong Kong-headquartered firm revealed that its Melco Creative Exchange scheme has been initially endowed with approximately $248 million that it will use to build a five-star spa facility on the outskirts of Yokohama as well as a ski resort in the mountains near the city of Nagano.

Grand plans:

GGRAsia reported that Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited, which is already responsible for Macau’s giant Studio City Macau, City of Dreams Macau and Altira Macau facilities, is also eager to secure one of the trio of casino licenses being put up for grabs by the Japanese government. Under legislation passed last year, the nation of some 126 million people is requiring communities hoping to play host to one of these gambling venues to team up with an experienced operator before submitting their final plans to the central government in Tokyo.

Yokohama hopes:

Last month reportedly saw Melco abandon its plan to bring just such a $10 billion integrated casino resort to Osaka with the firm now said to be concentrating all of its efforts on Yokohama. But, it is purportedly likely to face stiff competition from the likes of American rivals such as Las Vegas Sands Corporation and Wynn Resorts Limited while the city itself may face opposing bids from up to nine other runners including Sasebo, Tokyo and Chiba.

Rural proposals:

Regarding the planned Melco Creative Exchange projects for the main island of Honshu and Inside Asian Gaming reported that the spa is due to be a four-story venue near the town of Hakone that will offer some 35 traditional suites spread across a 70,000 sq ft footprint. Further north and Melco detailed that local tennis star Naomi Osaka is to serve as the brand ambassador for its envisioned ski resort, which is to be a redevelopment of a facility already located in Japan’s Northern Alps mountain range.

Cohort search:

Nikkei Asian Review reported that Lawrence Ho Yau Lung, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Melco Resorts, declared that his firm is on the hunt for partners ‘who have a passion for Japan’ to help fund its Melco Creative Exchange scheme while the two planned facilities are to be designed to bring ‘people to the countryside’ of Japan rather than ‘to another American or European city.’