Wakayama Officially Names Clairvest Group Casino Resort Partner

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Wakayama Officially Names Clairvest Group Casino Resort Partner

Posted on: July 22, 2021, 01:12h.

Last updated on: July 22, 2021, 01:12h.

Devin O'Connor

The Wakayama Prefecture is formally moving forward with an integrated casino resort pitch from Toronto-based Clairvest Group.

Wakayama casino resort IR Japan
Picturesque Marina City in Wakayama, Japan, is seen from above. Wakayama hopes to one day offer residents and visitors alike a large-scale integrated resort with a casino on the marina. (Image: Shutterstock)

Known as the “Kingdom of Fruit” for its long claims of producing the most perfect mandarin, Wakayama officials are hoping its casino resort ambitions turn fruitful in the coming months and years. The prefecture and its namesake capital city confirmed this week that the Clairvest consortium has been selected.

We will create an area development plan in conjunction with the priority candidate. Along with requesting further refinements to the proposals and enhancing the project implementation plan, we will seek to build an All-Wakayama Plan in which businesses in the prefecture can participate widely in enhancing the operation plan to ensure that there is contribution through development of the local economy and local employment,” a prefecture statement explained.

Clairvest has submitted an IR casino plan that is expected to cost $4.3 billion. That is considerably higher than the approximate $2.5 billion investment sought by the Wakayama Prefecture government.

Clairvest was the lone qualifying IR bid in Wakayama after Suncity Group unexpectedly withdrew its candidacy in May.

Clairvest is no stranger to gaming. The private equity firm’s portfolio includes investments in New Jersey’s Meadowlands Race Track, Canada’s Grey Eagle Resort & Casino, Chilean Gaming Holdings, and business-to-business sports betting and iGaming provider FSB Technology.

IR Plans

Japan’s central government has authorized three large-scale commercial casino resorts.

Clairvest has formed a subsidiary — Clairvest Neem Ventures (CNV) — for its Japan objectives. CNV has partnered with Groupe Partouche, a French-headquartered casino and hospitality firm that has properties in France, Switzerland, Belgium, and Tunisia.

CNV has proposed building its sprawling casino and entertainment resort complex at Marina City located just south of downtown Wakayama. Clairvest says the resort’s theme will be “a land of wood and a land of water.”

Promoting Wakayama’s natural elements, the IR blueprint includes 2,700 hotel rooms, convention center capable of accommodating 3,000 attendees, and massive casino floor measuring more than 400,000 square feet.

By comparison, the largest casino in Las Vegas is at Wynn/Encore, which measures just shy of 200,000 square feet.

Central Government Bid

Wakayama Prefecture officials say much work needs to be done before the region takes its casino plan to Japan’s central government. Prefecture leaders say the project must assure that the casino spurs tourism to the region, generates jobs and new tax revenue, and overall benefits the area’s economy.

Japan’s Casino Administration Committee will handle reviewing IR presentations from interested prefectures, host cities, and their respective resort consortiums. With only three casino privileges available, and four cities expected to submit bids, assuring that Wakayama’s scheme beats out at least one is of utmost importance.

“We will create an excellent Area Development Plan for an IR that will greatly contribute to the region’s development and make a contribution to the country’s tourism strategy for the application to be made to the central government by the deadline of April 28, 2022,” a Wakayama statement added.

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