The gloves are off: Wakayama Prefecture’s IR Casino Licence quest down to just two bidders

Posted: May 06, 2020 15:56 Category: Asia , Posted by Maria Debrincat

Final decision between Suncity Group Holdings Limited and Clairvest Neem Ventures to be made by mid-November

Wakayama is one of the Japanese prefectures vying for the host locations for the casino integrated resort projecthousing the first commercial casinos in Japan. Read more about it here.

Suncity group
Suncity Group

Suncity Group Holdings Japan Company Limited is the local arm of Hong Kong-headquartered real estate giant Suncity Group Holdings Limited.

Wakayama Prefecture has revealed that just two firms submitted the request for proposal (RFP) – securing the plans and making it official to build and operate an integrated casino resort in the prefecture. 

The two firms are Suncity Group Holdings Japan Company Limited, the local arm of Hong Kong-headquartered real estate giant Suncity Group Holdings Limited, and the Clairvest Neem Ventures subordinate of Canadian private equity management firm Clairvest Group Incorporated, according to the report from GGRAsia.

The French behemoth Groupe Lucien Barriere and the Filipino counterpart Bloomberry Resorts Corporation have presented their interim concepts on a symposium in August of 2019, and are the two favored casino operators of Wakayama Prefecture but unfortunately they have both withdrawn from the race.

Wakayama Prefecture’s Benchmark on the IR Project:


Clairvest is a Toronto-based private equity management firm with over C$2.4 billion of equity capital under management.

Wakayama Prefecture is reportedly envisioning a Las Vegas – style casino resort integrating multiple hotels, exhibition facilities and retail elementsas well as a ‘sports and wellness’ theme to a 58.3-acre privately-owned land on theMarina City that is approximately 40 kilometres from Kansai International Airport in Osaka Bay.  

The prefecture officials require the chosen partner to ensure the durability of the development that is able to hold out against the natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis, along with the alleviation of certain gambling measures such as by having the “IR card”.

This will allow Japanese Nationals to place wagers only through the card that needs to be pre-loaded with cash, requires asetting of gambling limits and helps keep track of gambling addictionbehaviors. 

Hong Kong’s Suncity has also recently signed O&M agreement for Philippines Casino: 

Ken Rotman – CEO at Clairvest Group.

Ken Rotman – CEO at Clairvest Group.

Suncity Group Holdings Limited, through its majority-owned Philippines subsidiary Suntrust Home Development Inc., has just signed an operation and management or O&M agreement with Westside City Resorts World Inc., as part of its co-development agreement to operate and manage a new hotel and casino in the country’s Entertainment City.  

The O&M agreement took effect on 04 May 2020 and will run through 11 July 2033 is one of the last remaining conditions for Suncity following the payment of US$200 million earlier this year, for project site under the co-development agreement with Westside.  

Suncity’s hotel and casino investment is set to cost US$700 million, covering approximately 44,000 square meters, with a floor area of 182,000 square meters. The casino will have VIP and mass gaming space with 400 gaming tables and 1,200 slot and ETG machines. It also includes a 5-star hotel, grand theatre, and shopping malls.  

Alvin Chau – CEO at Suncity Group Holdings.

Alvin Chau – CEO at Suncity Group Holdings.

The property is set to open in the last quarter of 2022. 

Per the agreement signed, Suntrust will be entitled to the gross gaming revenues coming from the main hotel and casino, while 1 percent of the VIP GGR and 3 percent of the mass tables and slot machines will be paid to Westside.  

More conditions are still to be fulfilled under the O&M Agreement which includes obtaining license and permits to meet the requirements of the agreement. These shall be obtained by Westside, which already holds a license issued by PAGCOR for Traveller’s International Hotel Group Inc. Resorts World Manila is operated by Traveller’s International Hotel Group Inc.  

Suncity is part of the Philippines big four integrated resorts; Resorts World Manila, Solaire Resorts & Casino, City of Manila and Okada Manila, which are still under suspended operations following directive of the government to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the country.   

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