GGRAsia – Wakayama Assembly Fears IR Funding ‘Still Unclear’


Wakayama Assembly angers IR funding ‘still unclear’

A Wakayama Prefectural Assembly committee tasked with reviewing the Japanese community’s propensity to have a casino resort has issued a statement expressing concern that planning and fundraising for the project are “still unclear”.

“Unfortunately, the committee has to state that the plan is still unclear in detail and not convincing in terms of fundraising,” the Integrated Resort Special Committee said in a statement after its third meeting on Monday, which lasted seven hours.

“The committee urges the prefecture [government] show the certainty of fundraising in the next i.e. fourth committee meeting,” the statement added, according to GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent.

But the committee still agreed to let the prefectural government (pictured) start collecting public comments on the integrated resort (IR) project idea, although the committee was looking for more details on the practical aspects.

In December, a congregational member had urged that Wakayama don’t start the public consultation phase until funding was clear. A budget of 470 billion JPY (4.07 billion US dollars) has already been mentioned.

The reason for the committee agreeing to collect public comments is that the prefectural government has emphasized the limited time available before the meeting Deadline April 28th for submitting such a scheme to the national government.

The IR Special Committee of the Wakayama Prefectural Assembly is tasked with reviewing the draft local district development plan for a game complex.

Clairvest Neem Ventures KK, as a private sector partner, is leading the investment proposal for a casino in Wakayama. The initiative is coordinated by the prefectural government.

According to GGRAsia’s correspondent, some information on project funding was presented to committee members ahead of Monday’s meeting.

The prefectural government and Clairvest Neem Ventures have previously mentioned the existence of other forms of promises, including letters of intent and letters of trust.

However, this information was judged insufficient by the Assembly Committee as it sought evidence of commitments from equity investors and banks to ensure they would put money into the project when needed.

On February 4, the Yomiuri Shimbun News Agency reported that JPY 140 billion would be allocated for the program through equity, from a total of: Clairvest Neem Ventures; Clairvest Group Inc, a Canada-based private equity firm; Caesars Entertainment Inc, a casino operator based in the United States; and others, including Japanese companies. However, the other Japanese companies were not named in the documents, according to the report.

A September statement said Caesar’s attendance at Wakayama was linked to this “no capital commitment”.

According to Yomiuri Shimbun, the program would involve JPY 330 billion in bank loans, including from Credit Suisse and other banks. According to the report, however, the other institutions were not identified in the documents presented to the committee.

Under Japan’s Casino Liberalization Agreements, qualifying local governments must have a private sector partner to develop a project. Up to three such facilities will be allowed in Japan under the country’s liberalization framework.


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