A special committee of Japan’s Wakayama prefectural assembly has given its okay for the local government to advance with the process to apply to the national authorities for the right to host an integrated resort (IR) in that Japanese community. The decision was made on Thursday even though there were still doubts among committee members regarding funding for the scheme.
After receiving approval from the IR special committee tasked with scrutinising implementation of the casino policy, the proposal for a casino in Wakayama must now be voted in a plenary meeting of the Wakayama prefectural assembly.
April 28 is the closing date for local governments to submit pitches to the national government for the right to host an integrated resort. Up to three will be allowed nationally, under the liberalisation programme. Currently, Nagasaki and Osaka are also likely to submit a respective application – under the form of a so-called IR District Development Plan – for a casino resort.
During Thursday’s meeting of the IR special committee, a representative for the selected partner of Wakayama prefecture in its tilt to host a casino resort said it had letters of intent from nine potential equity investors and four financial services providers. The latter group included Cantor Fitzgerald and Hanwha Investment & Securities Co Ltd.
The information was given by Mario Ho Yau Kwan, one of the participants in the Clairvest Neem Ventures KK entity that is working with Wakayama.
Mr Ho appeared by video link for the fourth meeting of Wakayama prefectural assembly’s IR special committee. He pledged to put some of his own money into the project, according to information collated by GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent.
Mr Ho is a son of the late and former monopolist of Macau gaming, Stanley Ho Hung Sun, by the latter’s fourth consort, Macau legislator and SJM Holdings Ltd executive director Angela Leong On Kei.
Former Las Vegas Sands Corp executive Bill Weidner and United States-based casino operator Caesars Entertainment Inc were identified as linked to the Clairvest Neem Ventures entity in an announcement by Caesars in September last year.
Wakayama’s governor, Yoshinobu Nisaka, was also involved in the Thursday briefing to the prefectural assembly IR special committee.
Some members of the local prefectural assembly have previously expressed scepticism about the ability of Clairvest Neem to raise the necessary funds.
The national government requires IR District Development Plans to include documentation as evidence of ability to raise funds for such schemes. Such paperwork should be in the form of what is referred to as “commitment letters”, regarded by the Japanese authorities as legally binding in relation to certain conditions.
The Wakayama prefectural government has decided to interpret letters of intent as sufficient evidence for the viability of Wakayama’s IR District Development Plan, according to information collated by GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent.
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