The Tigre de Cristal casino resort in the Russian Far East has welcomed more than 190,000 visitors since the beginning of 2016, according to local authorities.
Tigre de Cristal is currently the only casino in operation in the Primorye Integrated Entertainment Zone, a casino development area located 50 kilometres (31 miles) from Russia’s Pacific port of Vladivostok. The property is majority owned by Summit Ascent Holdings Ltd, a Hong Kong-listed firm controlled by gaming entrepreneur Lawrence Ho Yau Lung, chairman of Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd.
The Primorsky Krai Administration stated on Friday, in a news piece on its official website, that Tigre de Cristal received an average daily attendance of around 1,000 people per day in the July to September period. That was about double the figure recorded in the previous three months, the report added.
Of the visitors in the third quarter, around 30 percent were identified as foreign tourists – mainly from South Korea and China – the report stated, quoting an official from the Primorye Territory Tourism Department.
The Primorsky Krai Administration also said that Tigre de Cristal had paid almost RUB500 million (US$8 million) in taxes and other government fees during its first year of operations.
In its interim report for the six months to June 30, published in September, Summit Ascent stated the monthly rolling chip turnover at Tigre de Cristal had gone from HKD258 million (US$33.3 million) in November 2015 to HKD2.0 billion in July 2016, and HKD2.2 billion in August 2016. The approximately 700-percent increase in monthly rolling chip turnover was due in part to the arrival of some Macau-based junkets, a spokesman for the property’s majority owner recently told GGRAsia.
Four licences have so far been granted for the development of casino resorts in Primorsky Krai, coupled with land grants totalling almost 1.4 million square metres (15.1 million sq feet). So far only Tigre de Cristal has been built and opened, but Hong Kong-listed casino operator NagaCorp Ltd is expected to be the next firm to open a venue in that Integrated Entertainment Zone. NagaCorp’s chairman has told GGRAsia that the construction programme is on schedule and the group expects to open its property there in the summer of 2018.
In the latest interim report, Summit Ascent said it expects to start construction of Tigre de Cristal’s phase two “in the second half of 2017, and open the first stage of our phase two for operations in the first half of 2019”. The company had said previously that phase two of Tigre de Cristal might open in 2018.
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"Our rolling chip business [at Tigre de Cristal casino, in the Russian Far East], targeting Asian customers, has achieved substantial growth as we continue to address the underserved Northeast Asian market"
Lawrence Ho Yau Lung
Chairman of gaming investor Summit Ascent Holdings Ltd