The developers of the Tigre de Cristal casino resort in the Russian Far East have put back the launch date by more than a month, with a soft opening on October 8 followed by a full one in “late October”.
“While construction is substantially complete, customs delays resulted in slower than expected delivery of certain final fit out materials (e.g. bar fixtures and fittings). In addition, commissioning of HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and some other building systems proved to be more time consuming than previously surmised,” said a statement from Summit Ascent Holdings Ltd filed with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange after trading hours on Thursday.
Summit Ascent – a driver of the casino project – is controlled by Lawrence Ho Yau Lung (pictured), who is also the co-chairman and chief executive of a separate Asian casino developer, Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd.
In May, Summit Ascent said the Russian scheme – which is located in the Primorye region near the port of Vladivostok – was expected to open its doors by August 28.
“…our commitment to full compliance with Russian commissioning procedures and regulations resulted in unforeseen delays in the completion of the final fit out works and consequently later than expected handover of some key areas of the building to operations,” said the firm’s Thursday statement, explaining the revised schedule.
G1 Entertainment LLC – formerly known as First Gambling Company of the East LLC – a majority-owned subsidiary of Summit Ascent, is involved in development of the project, in what is known as Primorye’s Integrated Entertainment Zone.
“Despite the aforementioned delays, the operating company has maintained stringent cost controls and does not expect any material budget overruns. As a positive result of these controls, the company does not believe it is necessary to resort to external fundraising,” said the latest filing.
In June 2014, Summit Ascent had said in a filing it was increasing its equity interest in the Russian gaming complex to 60 percent, from the 46 percent it controlled previously.
In September 2013, Mr Ho pledged to invest up to US$700 million in the gaming resort, signing a deal with the Russian authorities. A filing by Summit Ascent in September 2014 had mentioned an April 2015 opening date for the Russian casino resort.
“We remain optimistic about the prospects for our project in the Russian Far East and appreciate our stakeholders’ and partners’ ongoing support as we approach our imminent opening date,” said Thursday’s statement.
The filing added that all necessary staff for the property had been “hired or identified” with ten times as many people applying for work as there were positions available.
An earlier filing of Summit Ascent mentioned the resort was likely to have 119 hotel rooms, 800 slot machines, 25 VIP gaming tables, 15 mass-market baccarat tables and 25 mass-market tables providing other table games.
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”Assuming that our [Tigre de Cristal] phase two project and the other future operators’ development plans remain on track, we may see the benefits of a ‘cluster’ effect [in the Primorye Integrated Entertainment Zone] as early as 2021”
Summit Ascent, lead developer of Tigre de Cristal