Wakayama Prefecture has confirmed to Inside Asian Gamingthat its operator selection process will continue as planned despite the sudden withdrawal of Suncity Group this week.
Suncity made the shock announcement that it was withdrawing its Wakayama bid, citing the uncertain situation brought about by COVID-19 and delays to Japans IR process.
A spokesperson for the prefecture said Thursday, We are surprised at how sudden this was. It is very regrettable but we will continue with our examination of the other candidate currently under examination.
On the announcement of its candidate partner, which had been expected in April, they added, It is running a little late, but we do not intend to change [the schedule].
The absence of Suncity leaves Wakayama in a similar situation to nearby Osaka with only one candidate operator remaining in Clairvest Neem Ventures, a subsidiary of Canadian investment giant Clairvest Group.
However, Wakayama said there was no guarantee it would settle on Clairvest.
We will continue the selection procedure for our remaining candidate to decide if they will be selected or not, the spokesperson told IAG.
In that case, we will promptly publish the selection along with other materials to ensure transparency. If they are selected, we will proceed to the next step. I cannot answer what will happen if they are not selected as that is still a hypothetical question.
Clairvest declined to comment when contacted by IAG.
Suncity had only opened a new Wakayama office last October, having previously released extensive details of its integrated resort concept, dubbed IR2.0.
The company is also developing two non-gaming resorts in Japan, located in Miyako Island, Okinawa and Niseko, Hokkaido.