May 19, 2019 3 min read


Groupe Barrière Prepares to Invest $2.5bn in IR

  • Groupe Barrière prepares to invest $2.5 billion in Japanese IR
  • Osaka and Wakayama prefectures shortlisted for hosting the resort
  • More US brands coming to Asia

European casino company Groupe Barrière has emerged as one of the latest investors in the future Japanese Integrate Resort (IR) voted and approved by the Government of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Groupe Barrière to Acquire Stake in Japanese IR

Europe-headquartered company Groupe Barrière is mulling a $2.5-billion entry into the future Japanese Integrated Resort. The company will agree to buying up a minority stake in the project, allowing it to consolidate its footprint in Asia, and in the emerging Japanese market.

Groupe Barrière Casino Development Director Jonathan Strock revealed the company’s intentions on Friday, May 17, speaking at Conrad Hotel in Tokyo, Japan. The IR project is now moving forward with construction work expected to start in the Wakayama prefecture. Mr Strock commented on the latest developments:

What we believe firmly is that this is a Japanese resort to promote Japanese culture and increase tourism to Japan.

Strock spoke of the expected financial benefits that come with opening new properties in Japan. He further pointed out that the emerging market for gambling enthusiast in the country would create new jobs. According to Strock, the entities to benefit the most will be real estate and construction companies.

He also stressed the importance of MICE and leisure specialists who will help develop the Wakayama prefecture and make it an important pull for tourists.

Building a Japanese Identity

Strock continued by explaining that Groupe Barrière didn’t just want to enter the market. The company was interested in building a distinctly Japanese identity, he clarified. Instead of rehashing products for the Japanese market, the company would focus on something entirely Japanese, he continued speaking at the Clarion Events Ltd event.

The company will also focus on the well-being of customers, ensuring that responsible gambling practices are kept in place from the get-go. Barrière is one of the latest companies to make a push in Japan because of the limited nature of the market.

Only three IRs will be built on the territory of the country, which means that operators interested in joining will have to hurry up and weight the financial risk against the potential profit. Japan will have to compete against established gambling hubs in the region, such as Macau and South Korea where investment continues to flow in.

US brands, such as the Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment (MGE) company have also expressed desire to continue expanding its footprint in South Korea. More concentrated effort is coming into the Japanese market as the rivalry between the Osaka and Wakayama prefectures for hosting the first IR intensifies.


Rachael is a veteran gaming journalist with over 9 years of writing experience but has only just started within the gambling industry. She has built a keen interest within the iGaming sector over the years from exposure at events and intends to translate her passion into publications here at to keep our readers updated with the latest developments.

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