Wakayama to name IR operator by end of April

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Wakayama prefecture has confirmed to Inside Asian Gaming that it will announce its selected operator candidate for an integrated resort by the end of this month.

The prefecture stopped accepting RFP documentation from candidate operators on 15 January, receiving applications from just two candidates Suncity Group Holdings Japan Co Ltd and Clairvest Neem Ventures (Tokyo).

Wakayama had established a selection committee consisting of nine experts with the intention of naming a preferred operator in spring. Initially this date was set for early April but IAGunderstands the committee needed more time to make its final decision.

Wakayama Governor Yoshinobu Nisaka has been enthusiastic about opening an IR and, according to sources, was actively taking in the opinions of those around him in his considerations. A rapid increase in coronavirus infections across Japan has also seen the IR project take a backseat in the short-term.

The prefectures IR Promotion Office told IAG, We can only answer that a decision will be made in Spring based on the examination of the selection committee. They added, Nagasaki has just entered its second round of examinations and Yokohama is still only in the RFP stage, emphasizing the fact that Wakayama will still be the first location to settle on its IR operator partner once the decision has been made public.