Boutique Southeast Asia casino operator Donaco International Ltd and Kings Consulting Ltd have signed a three-year deal for the hosting of international poker tournaments at Donaco’s Star Vegas. The latter is a casino venue located in Poipet, Cambodia, on the latter country’s border with Thailand.
Kings Consulting – a unit of Macau VIP junket room investor Suncity Group – is the owner of the Poker King Club brand.
“Under the deal, Poker King Club will stage a minimum of three international poker tournaments at the Star Vegas, under a range of potential brands, including the Thailand legs of the Asian Poker Tour and World Poker Tour,” stated a Monday release from Donaco.
It added: “The parties will conduct joint marketing campaigns for the tournaments, including marketing to Poker King Club’s network of players across Asia and globally.”
The deal comes into effect on July 1. Revenues and costs for the tournaments will be shared, the release said.
Donaco stated the agreement represented “the first step” in the firm’s strategy of increasing the utilisation of available capacity at Star Vegas. The partnership was also aimed at increasing the number of players from Thailand and across Asia at the Star Vegas casino.
In August 2015 Donaco announced an exclusive sponsorship agreement with English soccer club Manchester United, a team popular in Thailand, a country where casino gambling is illegal, and from where Star Vegas draws many customers.
Poker King Club is an operator of poker games, including cash games and tournaments. The first Poker King Club room opened at Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd’s StarWorld property in 2009, in Macau.
According to Donaco’s release, Poker King Club currently manages three poker rooms, namely: at the Venetian Macao casino resort, in Macau’s Cotai district; at Solaire Resort and Casino, in Philippine capital Manila; and at Maison Glad Hotel Jeju, on the South Korean holiday island of Jeju.
Since its launch, Poker King Club has organised “more than 40 tournaments” around Asia, the release said. It added that Poker King Club was also the organiser behind the Triton Poker series of events, which “cater to the affluent super high roller market”.
‘Strong’ Jan-Mar performance
In a separate release also issued on Monday, Donaco said the firm’s earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the nine months to March 31 were up 10.5 percent year-on-year to AUD56.7 million (US$42.8 million), following “strong performances” at its Star Vegas and Aristo International properties between January and March. The latter property is in Lao Cai, in northern Vietnam.
Star Vegas recorded EBITDA of THB566.6 million (US$16.4 million) for the January to March period, an improvement of 47.1 percent year-on-year, benefiting from a strong VIP gross win rate of 3.83 percent, Donaco said.
The firm added: “Casino visitation and gaming turnover recovered in January, when VIP players began returning to the property after observing a 100-day royal mourning period in Thailand.” That was a reference to the death in October 2016 of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
“However VIP turnover for the March quarter was still modestly down overall, by 4 percent on the same quarter last year,” Donaco stated.
The firm said business at Star Vegas was “on track to reach or exceed the EBITDA target of US$60 million” for the 12 months ended June 30.
Donaco added that planning for the management transition at Star Vegas was “well under way”, with “a number of initiatives” set to commence after the current two-year management contract ends on June 30. “As part of the transition planning, management continues to develop its plans to launch online gaming at the property in the coming months,” the firm stated.
When Donaco announced – in January 2015 – the acquisition of the Star Vegas property , it said at the time that the vendor would still manage the venue for a further two years post acquisition. The vendor was at the time named as Star Vegas Resort and Club.
As for Aristo International, it “continues to perform very strongly, benefiting from the strategic change of direction to focus on mass market play and away from the high-end VIP business,” Donaco said.
Revenue at the property increased 40.3 percent to CNY105.8 million (US$15.3 million) in the nine months ended March 31, the firm stated. EBITDA for the period was CNY62.7 million, up 72.7 percent in year-on-year terms.
Rolling chip turnover at Aristo was up 4 percent for the period between January and March, “although overall was down by 17.8 percent for the nine-month period, consistent with the strategy to move away from targeting the high-end VIP segment,” Donaco stated.
Aristo experienced strong growth in slot machine revenue, which was up by 72 percent year-on-year to CNY2.7 million in the quarter ended March 31.
“In order to generate further growth, management has recently added 10 new Aruze slot machines on the gaming floor, with Aristo now having a total of 68 electronic gaming machine positions,” Donaco said. “This is the first step in strategic plans to increase the installed base of slot machines at Aristo,” the firm added.
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Aggregate number of licensed junkets in Macau as of January 2022