The head of tourism for Primorsky Krai in the Russian Far East says the success achieved so far by the Tigre de Cristal casino resort – the first scheme to open in a new gaming zone in the region – is a good indicator for other gaming investors there.
“The apparent success of the first hotel and entertainment complex with casino Tigre de Cristal… will certainly serve as a good incentive for future investors,” stated Konstantin Shestakov, quoted in a report published last week in the official website of the Primorsky Krai Development Corp. The latter is a government-owned company overseeing the development of the Primorye casino development area, located 50 kilometres (31 miles) from Russia’s Pacific port of Vladivostok.
Mr Shestakov added: “Figures show that… investors [in Tigre de Cristal] and the state [as a whole] show a profit.”
Phase one of Tigre de Cristal (pictured) opened in autumn 2015. The property is operated by Hong Kong-listed Summit Ascent Holdings Ltd, controlled by gaming entrepreneur Lawrence Ho Yau Lung.
Tigre de Cristal’s US$500-million phase two will have an aggregate of 500 extra rooms in two hotels, duty free shopping, a food court and extra gaming space, according to Summit Ascent. A company spokesperson told GGRAsia last month that the firm was currently projecting that “Phase 2a”, including a first tranche of 300 hotel rooms, and half the new gaming space, would open in the second half of 2019.
Summit Ascent swung to profit in 2016. It was the first full calendar year of operations of Tigre de Cristal. The firm reported a net profit attributable to shareholders of HKD559,000 (US$71,454) for the full year, as compared to a loss of HKD85.4 million in 2015.
Hong Kong-listed casino operator and developer NagaCorp Ltd is also developing a casino resort in Russia: it had a ground breaking ceremony on its Primorye site in May 2015. Company chairman Tim McNally told GGRAsia last month that the firm was still expecting to open the property in the first half of 2019.
A third investor, Diamond Fortune Holdings Ltd, reportedly began recently ground preparation for its first casino resort in Primorye. The firm plans to open the first stage of the project – named Selena World Resort and Casino – in 2019.
Primorsky Krai Development meanwhile launched a total of three independent auctions for land in Primorye that is earmarked for casino development. The deadline for applications is August 28, according to a notice on the firm’s official website. The winners are to be announced the following day.
Last week’s report on Primorsky Krai Development’s website stated that Tigre de Cristal had already generated tax revenue of RUB864 million (US$14.4 million) since its opening. “By the end of 2017, the total amount of taxes will exceed RUB1 billion,” the report stated. It added that by 2022 the Primorye casino development area was expected to generate annual tax revenue in excess of RUB8 billion.
Brokerage Daiwa Securities Group Inc said in a recent note that a new electronic visa regime introduced in Russia earlier this month was likely to benefit tourism arrivals to Primorye.
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Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China