US casino giant Caesars Entertainment, Inc has been named as casino operator for Clairvest Neem Ventures’ integrated resort development in Wakayama, Japan.
According to information released by Caesars early Thursday (Asia time), the company has joined Clairvest’s operating consortium “in full compliance with Japanese law and with no capital commitment.”
The partnership comes after Caesars, which had shown interest in Osaka, Yokohama and Hokkaido, withdrew from Japan’s IR race in August 2019 to focus on completion of its US$17.8 billion merger with Eldorado Resorts.
Caesars CEO Tom Reeg said, “Caesars is an iconic brand, and we are proud to partner with Clairvest to bring it to Japan. We believe our experience blends perfectly with Clairvest’s and look forward to creating something special with them for the Kansai region.”
Eddie Woo, Representative Director of Clairvest Neem Ventures, added, “We are thrilled to partner with Caesars Entertainment. Caesars and Clairvest share a common vision for Japan’s national IR program. Not only will it serve to enhance the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic through increased international visitation, but we are confident that together we can create a resort that provides significant local economic stimulation in Wakayama prefecture, throughout the Kansai region and the rest of Japan.”
Caesars’ participation as casino operator in Wakayama represents the company’s first gaming presence in Asia, having famously failed to pursue a license in Macau in 2001 in what then-CEO Gary Loveman later described as the biggest mistake of his career. Caesars also sold its 50% stake in an integrated resort development in Incheon, South Korea, early this year.
Clairvest’s Wakayama consortium also includes former Las Vegas Sands Corp COO William Weidner’s AMSE Resorts Japan and eSports entrepreneur Mario Ho, part of Macau’s famous Ho family.
Clairvest had previously named French casino operator Groupe Partouche as one of its consortium partners although IAG was told some time ago that Groupe Partouche would not be involved in casino operations at the IR.
Wakayama Prefecture named Clairvest as its preferred partner to develop an IR at Wakayama Marina City in June and the pair signed a Basic Agreement in August. An area development plan will be drafted by November before a submission is made to Japan’s central government to be granted one of up to three licenses to be issued nationwide to develop an integrated resort.