Most of the large US casino operators – Caesars Entertainment, Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts – initially showed a lot of enthusiasm for Japan’s integrated resort (IR) plans. However, that interest quickly waned for all of them, except MGM. Now, one of them is staging a comeback, ready to get involved once again. Caesars has reportedly teamed up with Clairvest Neem Ventures (CNV) after the latter was selected by the Wakayama prefecture as its casino partner.
Clairvest Gets Some US Support for Japanese IR
CNV was chosen by Wakayama at the end of last month, beating out Suncity Group to lead the way for the prefecture to build its case as a suitable host of an IR. The resort project, which would be built on the artificial island of Marina City, is expected to span more than six million square feet and carry an initial investment of around $4.3 billion. Canada-based CNV, a private equity management firm, has brought in Caesars to help it solidify its plans for casino gambling in the prefecture.
An announcement by CNV explains that the addition of Caesars is in “full compliance” with the laws and regulations in Japan and that the casino operator has “no capital commitment.” Caesars was one of the first US casino companies to show interest in a Japanese IR and was also the first to exit as it was dealing with its massive merger with Eldorado Resorts.
CNV Representative Director Eddie Woo added in a press release announcing the new partnership, “We are thrilled to partner with Caesars Entertainment. Caesars and CNV 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.”
Several Industry Heavyweights Involved
The arrival of Caesars to CNV’s initiative will be a reunion of sorts. The private equity firm is involved in 30 land-based gaming and entertainment properties in Canada, the US and Chile, and its upper management pool is packed with industry executives. Among these are William Weidner, former president and chief operating officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) and former LVS president of global operations and construction Garry Saunders. Saunders is also a former Melco Resorts & Entertainment chief operating officer and VP of international operations.
Caesars CEO Tom Reeg, formerly the CEO of Eldorado Resorts before the merger of the two, knows his new partners well and knows how to build and manage resorts. The company, following the deal with Eldorado and a required sell-off of several properties to meet regulatory demands, now operates over 50 properties. Reeg is ready for Asian expansion through Japan and states, “Caesars is an iconic brand, and we are proud to partner with CNV to bring it to Japan. We believe our experience blends perfectly with CNV’s and look forward to creating something special with them for the Kansai region.”