Hong Kong-listed gaming investor Amax International Holdings Ltd says its “interactive gaming” business in the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu (pictured) generated revenue of HKD1.7 million (US$219,000) in the six months ended September 30.
The business began operation in July, according to the company.
“Between then and September 2016, the business recorded gross revenue of HK$1.71 million,” stated Amax International in its interim results announcement for the six months ended September 30, filed to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Monday.
The firm added: “With the number of visitors to Vanuatu on the rise and in view of its supportive demographics, the board is confident in the long-term success of the gaming business… At the same time, while working hard to formulate a strategy to develop the Vanuatu gaming business, the group has also been exploring opportunities to expand its revenue sources by tapping the Asia-Pacific region.”
The firm posted a net loss of HKD18.3 million for the six months ended September 30 compared to a net loss of HKD17.7 million in the prior-year period.
Amax International first made a name for itself in the Macau casino market as a junket consolidator working with the Altira casino hotel in 2008. But the implementation of a market-wide 1.25 percent cap on junket commissions in 2009 adversely affected the firm’s revenue sources.
“With the gaming sector in Macau slowing down, which is in contrast with a booming global gaming market in recent years, the group has been exploring ways to diversify its core business geographically and establishing gaming operations outside Macau,” Amax International stated in its latest results announcement.
The firm acquired a 60-percent equity interest in Forenzia Enterprises Ltd in October 2014. The latter operates a gaming business in Vanuatu under an interactive gaming – i.e. online gaming – license valid for a period of 15 years from February 2014.
Amax International also has – according to Monday’s filing – a 24.8 percent stake in an entity called Greek Mythology (Macau) Entertainment Group Corp Ltd. The latter, described as an associate and the operator of the Greek Mythology casino, has refused to provide “valid financial information” to Amax International since 2012, resulting in a lengthy legal dispute, according to the filing.
Casino Greek Mythology, inside the Beijing Imperial Palace Hotel , was shut down on December 31 last year by the city’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, in a measure described at the time as a “temporary closure”. That was at the request of casino operator SJM Holdings Ltd, which provides the gaming licence for the casino.
Meanwhile, the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) ordered in July a temporary closure of Beijing Imperial Palace Hotel for a period of six months. The sanction on the hotel was the result of “serious administrative irregularities” and “illegal reconstructions”, said at the time Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, MGTO’s director.
It is latest filing, Amax International said the temporary closure of Beijing Imperial Palace Hotel “will not have any material impact on the financial position of the company”.
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"Given the opaque nature of the VIP segment (56 percent of gross gaming revenue in first quarter 2017), forecasting Macau GGR with a fair amount of certainty is difficult; therefore, we remain cautious"