Suncity withdraws from Wakayama IR race

Suncity Group has withdrawn from the RFP process to create an IR (integrated resort) in the prefecture of Wakayama, leaving Clairvest, a private equity management firm based in Canada, as the only remaining applicant.

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Before the withdrawal, Suncity Group opened an office in Wakayama in September 2020, to use as a promotional base for the IR bid.

The operator was reportedly planning to spend from HK$30bn ($3.8bn) to HK$35bn ($4.5bn) on the IR. It was supposed to be “a unique project combining Wakayama prefecture’s historical tradition, natural landscape and cultural essence”.

Asia Gaming Brief reports Suncity even sponsored the local basketball team, the Wakayama Trians, to draw awareness to the project.

A statement from Suncity explained the reasons for its withdrawal. “After deep consideration, we have made this difficult decision under the enormous impact on the industry due to the spread of the new coronavirus infection,” said chairman Alvin Chau.

“Many companies anticipate a long period of uncertainty, and the IR certification process in Japan appears set to take a lot longer than expected. Many things remain unclear, but we must consider the risks as a business operator.”

Wakayama has been delaying its RPF process for unknown reasons, although Covid-19 delays are likely at play here.

Now the region is left with only one possible partner (not unlike Osaka); Wakayama can now either declare Clairvest as a winner or remove itself from the IR race.


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