The global COVID-19 pandemic appears to have claimed another victim in Japan’s IR race with European casino operator Groupe Barrière believed to no longer be pursuing the Japan opportunity.
Inside Asian Gaming has learned that Barrière is cutting back on most development plans, including Japan, as a result of the pandemic which has seen the company forced to suspend operations at most of its 33 casinos and 18 hotels across Europe. There is also no clarity on exactly when operations will start returning to normal.
Barrière revealed in 2019 that it was pursuing IR development in Wakayama, stating at the time that it was willing to invest as much as US$2.5 billion but was also happy to take a minority position in any consortium in which it was involved.
However, COVID-19 appears to have put those plans on ice with Barrière not replying to Wakayama’s RFP and not expected to reply in Nagasaki either, leaving no currently available options in Japan’s regional IR space.
Only two companies ultimately replied to Wakayama’s RFP – Suncity Group Holdings and Clairvest Neem Ventures – while five groups are believed to have filed initial documents in Nagasaki.