Japan’s Wakayama prefecture has confirmed to GGRAsia that it is keeping to its existing timetable for a request-for-proposal (RFP) process regarding hosting a casino resort.
Only one suitor, Clairvest Neem Ventures, a unit of Canada-based private-equity management firm Clairvest Group, is currently in the frame as a commercial partner, after a notice of withdrawal from Suncity Holdings Japan Co Ltd.
The prefecture has no plan to extend the RFP process, it also noted to GGRAsia in an email on Thursday in response to our enquiry.
Wakayama announced in January that it would select its private-sector partner for its wished-for casino resort project – also known in that country as integrated resort (IR) – by “spring” of this year. The opening of any Wakayama IR scheme, if realised, should take place around “spring 2026”.
Local governments in Japan must find a private-sector partner, and then apply to the central authorities for the right to host an IR scheme. Up to three such venues will be permitted in Japan to coincide with the opening up of the market.
Wakayama prefecture had earlier on Thursday confirmed to GGRAsia the exit of Suncity Holdings Japan from the RFP.
The latter firm is linked to privately-held Macau junket investor Suncity Group, led by Alvin Chau Cheok Wa. The Japan entity had posted a statement on its official website on Wednesday announcing its decision.
The statement quoted Mr Chau as saying that the “enormous impact” of Covid-19 on the gaming industry, as well as the fact that Japan’s IR certification process had taken “much longer than expected”, were factors in his firm’s consideration to withdraw from the Wakayama IR race.
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