Caesars Partners with Clairvest to Re-Enter Japan Casino Race

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Casino powerhouse Caesars Entertainment, Inc. has apparently revived its effort to run an integrated resort in Japan as the company was named a partner in a development and operating consortium that was selected as Wakayama’s partner in an ongoing race for up to three gaming licenses.

The government of Wakayama picked in June a consortium led by Clairvest Neem Ventures, a subsidiary of Canadian private equity firm Clairvest Group, as its preferred partner it will jointly bid with for the right to host one of Japan’s first Macau-style casino properties.

Caesars announced on Wednesday that it would participate in the consortium with no capital commitment and that it has joined it in full compliance with Japanese law.

This new partnership brings together Clairvest Neem Ventures, which has extensive experience in the development of integrated resorts around the world, and Caesars, which is an equally experienced casino operator with multiple gaming properties around the US.

The Clairvest-led consortium was the first IR developer partner to be announced by a Japanese city/prefecture as part of the ongoing process for the introduction of Macau- and Las Vegas-style multi-purpose gaming complexes, widely known as integrated resorts.

Under Japan’s recently adopted casino law, up to three properties of this kind will be allowed in the country in the first phase of regulation. Cities and prefectures interested in hosting casino resorts must find a private sector partner to apply for the right to build and operate such resorts. They have until April 28, 2022 to submit their applications.

Caesars Could Finally Set Foot in Asia

Caesars joining Clairvest in its effort to obtain a permit for a Wakayama City Marina resort represents a bit of a surprising U-turn for the Nevada-based casino giant, which in 2019 announced that it would not pursue expansion into Japan’s nascent market. It had previously shown interest in Osaka, Yokohama, and Hokkaido.

The operator said at the time that it wanted to focus on its domestic operations and on completing its $17.3 billion combination with Eldorado Resorts.

Caesars’ casino complex in Wakayama will be the company’s first gaming property in Asia after it notoriously failed to win one of Macau’s six casino concessions all the way back in 2001 and after it withdrew from a South Korean integrated resort scheme earlier this year.

The company currently operates a non-gaming resort in Dubai.

News about Caesars re-entering Japan’s casino race emerge shortly after rival MGM Resorts International was confirmed as Osaka’s partner in a proposed $10 billion integrated resort mega-scheme.

Clairvest and its new casino partner along with Wakayama officials will now focus on drafting an area development plan by November before they officially submit their proposal to Japan’s central government.


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