Yoshinobu Nisaka, governor of Japan’s Wakayama prefecture, confirmed in a Wednesday press briefing that the local government had chosen the venture linked to Canada-based private-equity management firm Clairvest Group as business partner for the prefecture’s tilt at hosting a casino resort. The local authority also gave some detail on the plan. Casino complexes are known in that country as integrated resorts (IRs).
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.
It would have 569,000 square metres (6.12 million sq feet) in gross floor area. The scheme – to be built on an artificial island called Marina City – would have approximately 2,700 hotel rooms, a casino, an “international conference” venue that can accommodate in aggregate about 6,000 people, and an exhibition space, as well as several tourism facilities, including for eSports and “indoor skydiving”.
The Wakayama authorities had confirmed to GGRAsia in mid-May that Clairvest Neem was the only contender for the prefecture’s request-for-proposal process, after a notice of withdrawal from Suncity Holdings Japan Co Ltd.
Clairvest Neem’s proposal had been rated by Wakayama as worth 656 points, out of a possible 1,000 points, according to information released on Wednesday by the prefecture. A proposal from Suncity Holdings Japan Co Ltd, scored 720 points. The latter entity is linked to entrepreneur Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, boss of privately-held Macau junket investor Suncity Group.
The Wakayama government’s nod for Clairevest Neem makes it the first private-sector IR partner to be confirmed by a Japanese local government.
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.
In its Wednesday update, Wakayama stated it would apply to the national government for what it termed certification as a casino resort host area, by April 28, 2022.
Clairvest’s business proposal envisaged the Wakayama casino resort project as launching in the “autumn of 2027”.
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”We committed to the government to provide a full business idea and plan for Phase 1b around 12 months after the casino opens, therefore, probably early 2025”
President of the Mohegan Inspire Entertainment Resort in South Korea