French casino operator Groupe Partouche SA has terminated a partnership with Hong Kong-listed Oshidori International Holdings Ltd concerning the latter’s effort for involvement in a possible casino resort in Nagasaki prefecture (pictured), Japan.
A Monday announcement attributed to Partouche said it was still “attentive to the evolution of IR development projects and remains interested in having the opportunity to participate in one of them”. That was a reference to integrated resorts or “IRs” as large-scale casino complexes are known in Japan.
No reason was given for the decision to terminate the agreement, nor any detail on the nature of the agreement.
Partouche, listed on Euronext in Paris, was founded in 1973, operates an aggregate of 42 casinos – most of them in France – and employs almost 4,000 people.
GGRAsia approached Oshidori International for comment, but had not received a reply by the time this story went online.
In late July, Japanese media reported that Nagasaki prefecture was considering delaying the start of its request-for-proposal (RFP) process for a tilt at hosting a casino resort scheme.
Nagasaki governor Hodo Nakamura was cited as saying a potential delay in the RFP was linked to the fact that Japan’s national so-called basic policy on IRs was yet to be published.
Japan’s Sankei Shimbun newspaper reported last month that the national policy would be delayed until August or later, citing a national government-linked source.
A maximum of three IRs will be allowed nationally in a first phase of Japan’s market liberalisation.
In its 2019 annual report, filed on March 24, Oshidori International mentioned it had already taken part in a request-for-concept phase for Nagasaki, providing an “overall concept of the proposed integrated resort including facility designs, marketing and operation policies”.
It emerged on Monday that another Japan licence suitor, United States-based casino operator Wynn Resorts Ltd had closed its office in Yokohama, Japan, as the group considered how to “align with a post-pandemic market”.
Wynn Resorts is parent of Macau operator Wynn Macau Ltd, which will see its current Macau gaming rights expire in June 2022. The Macau unit is expected to face an associated public retender process for refreshment of its rights there.
U.S. casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp had said in May that it was puling out of the race for a Japan casino licence, with the group’s chairman and chief executive, Sheldon Adelson, saying the “framework” for development in Japan of an IR scheme had made the firm’s goals there “unreachable”. Las Vegas Sands Corp is the parent of Macau operator Sands China Ltd. The latter’s gaming rights in Macau also expire in June 2022.
Last week U.S.-based casino operator MGM Resorts International – parent of Macau operator MGM China Holdings Ltd – said it would have a minority stake – of up to 45 percent – in a mooted resort scheme in Osaka, Japan
MGM Resorts’ newly-confirmed chief executive, Bill Hornbuckle, stressed that MGM Resorts would only pursue a casino resort in Japan if the firm considered it to be a “prudent” investment, that is “going to pay the kind of returns it needs to pay”.
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