Wakayama out of Japan casino race

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Wakayama will exit from the bid for an IR licence in Japan after its prefectural assembly voted against its development plan, while Nagasaki won the backing of its local legislators.

Wakayama had partnered with Clairvest Neem in a consortium which also included Caesars Entertainment for its tilt at an IR licence. However, the assembly voted 18 in favour and 22 against the plan that was put forward.

Nagasaki’s prefectural assembly voted 42 in favour and three against its plan, which was developed along with Casinos Austria. The Casinos Austria plan will be put forward to the central government in Tokyo, which had set a deadline of April 28 for the process.

It will join a consortium between MGM Resorts and Orix Corp as the only two remaining bidders for the three licences that the government had planned to award. MGM has partnered with Osaka and is seen as a certain to receive Tokyo’s endorsement.

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The Wakayama plan reportedly faltered due to concerns about financing for the JPY470bn bid (US$3.7bn). The local government chose Clairvest as its partner in summer last year.

The company’s proposal consisted of a facility of approximately 569,000sq.m in total size, including international conference halls, exhibition halls, restaurants, accommodation venues and a casino.

Governor Nisaka estimated at the time that the opening of the IR would create about 14,000 new jobs in the prefecture and have an economic spillover effect of about JPY260bn on an annual basis.

The projection was that the Wakayama IR would draw about 13 million visitors per year, of which about three million would be foreign nationals.

Clairvest, however, was not the favoured bidder. Its proposal was scored at 656 points out of 1,000 by the selection committee in its report completed on April 30, while the other operator in the race at that time, Suncity Group, had scored a far superior 720 points.

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Suncity abruptly pulled out of the race in May last year.

Source: Asia Gaming Brief

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