Canada-based private-equity management firm Clairvest Group Inc announced on Monday two new partners in its effort to develop an integrated resort (IR) in Japan’s Wakayama prefecture. They are French casino operator Groupe Partouche SA, and AMSE Resorts Japan Co Ltd, the latter a company linked to former casino executive William Weidner.
Clairvest Neem Ventures was confirmed last week by the Wakayama government as the business partner for the prefecture’s tilt at hosting a casino resort.
The Clairvest Neem Ventures proposal (pictured in an artist’s rendering) is estimated to have an “initial investment” worth JPY470 billion (US$4.3 billion), according to corporate materials published on the prefecture’s website.
On Monday, Clairvest said in a statement that its consortium would have the “expertise of two of the most experienced teams” in the development and management of casino resorts.
The statement quoted Jeff Parr, vice chairman and managing director of Clairvest Group, as saying that the company “shared a common vision” with its two new partners, and that the consortium would help Wakayama “strengthen the economic recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic.”
According to the release, AMSE is linked to Mr Weidner, a former president and chief operating officer (COO) of casino group Las Vegas Sands Corp, and backed by Global Gaming Asset Management LLC (GGAM).
Mr Weidner is chief executive of GGAM, a group that also includes Bradley Stone as president, and Garry Saunders as executive vice president. Mr Stone is a former president of international operations and constructions at Las Vegas Sands; Mr Saunders is a former COO of casino developer and operator Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd.
AMSE is also said to involve Mario Ho Yau Kwan, chief marketing officer of iDreamSky Technology, a company experienced in the development of eSports events and video games.
Groupe Partouche, listed on Euronext in Paris, was founded in 1973, and operates an aggregate of 42 casinos – most of them in France – and employs almost 4,000 people.
The French company was originally involved in efforts to plan for a casino resort in the Japanese prefecture of Nagasaki, first in partnership with Hong Kong-listed firm Oshidori International Holdings Ltd, and later in association with Tokyo-listed Pixel Companyz Inc. The latter consortium however was not selected by the Nagasaki authorities in that Japanese prefecture’s tilt at a casino resort.
Local authorities interested in hosting a casino resort must first select a commercial partner, and then apply to the national government for the right to host such a facility. Up to three resorts will be permitted in Japan under the relevant legislation framework.
The Wakayama government’s nod for Clairevest Neem Ventures makes it the first private-sector IR partner to be confirmed by a Japanese local government.
Clairvest Neem Ventures was the only contender for the prefecture’s request-for-proposal process, after a notice of withdrawal from Suncity Holdings Japan Co Ltd, a firm linked to entrepreneur Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, boss of privately-held Macau junket investor Suncity Group Ltd.
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