Posted on: February 10, 2022, 08:28h.
Last updated on: February 10, 2022, 09:12h.
Wakayama has provided a new update on its plans to bring an integrated resort (IR) to the Japanese prefecture. It has confirmed the involvement of Caesars Entertainment and is now ready for more public input.
Earlier this week, leaders in Wakayama received an update on how the prefecture’s IR concept could develop. Clairvest Group will be the majority stakeholder in the property with 55%, and Caesars Entertainment will hold a small, 5% stake. The latter is primarily assuming a role of financial investor, but is also likely to provide casino advisory support as well.
Wakayama’s IR Plan Moves Into Final Stretch
This was the first time that the prefecture was able to see financial figures related to the launch and operation of the IR. There have been repeated calls for officials to detail how coverage of the funding for the $4.1-billion resort will be possible. In particular, many have raised concerns about how Clairvest would be able to finance its involvement.
Although Caesars wasn’t originally going to be a financial investor, a change in the plans will see it provide some of the funding. To break ground on the project, once it is approved, the consortium of participants will initially spend $1.3 billion.
That would indicate that Clairvest’s initial investment will be around $715 million, with Caesars adding $63 million. The difference will reportedly be covered by debt.
Additional investments are coming from Nishimatsu Construction Co., which will serve as the IR’s general contractor. The company will reportedly provide $502 million for the project. The update presented this week indicated that Credit Suisse will finance $2.8 billion of the total cost. If Wakayama receives approval and everything stays on track, the IR will open sometime in 2027.
Wakayama Prepares for Public Input
There was no additional information this week about how Clairvest would cover its investment. This is a point that has already caused a lot of friction and has threatened to derail the project. It’s also certainly something that will be raised time and again in the coming weeks.
Wakayama launched, as of yesterday, a public commenting period for the IR project. Locals now have a new opportunity to speak up and give their input on whether they think having a casino resort in the area is a good idea.
Attempts to hold public comment periods in the past have failed, primarily because of an assumed lack of transparency. Wakayama has said previously that it wasn’t able to provide updates on how Clairvest would cover its responsibilities, and hasn’t offered any now.
This lack of information will likely prove to be a subject that appears repeatedly over the next couple of weeks. At some point, the prefecture – and Clairvest – will have to clear the air in order to gain the public’s trust.
The window for providing input will stay open until March 10. After that, Wakayama plans on preparing the final touches on its project. It will then send it to Japan’s national IR planning committee. The prefecture, and the other candidates, have to have their projects ready for presentation by April 28.