A Russian casino project linked to gaming entrepreneur Lawrence Ho Yau Lung – previously reported as due to open this month – is to buy US$1.29-million worth of casino currency from another firm connected to Mr Ho.
The announcement was made to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Wednesday.
The Primorye project, located near Vladivostok, in Russia’s Far East, is due to open this month according to a separate Hong Kong filing on September 17. But some media sources reported earlier this month that the opening had been postponed to mid-July.
The September filing said the casino complex is expected 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.
The casino currency for the Primorye scheme is being purchased under a complex connected transaction between companies also linked to Mr Ho.
After Hong Kong bourse trading hours on Wednesday, Summit Ascent Holdings Ltd, a Hong Kong-listed firm controlled by him, said that Dolphin Products Ltd – which Summit Ascent described in the same filing as a subsidiary of another Lawrence Ho-controlled firm – Melco International Development Ltd – would sell casino currency to a firm called Oriental Regent Ltd.
The latter Hong Kong-registered firm is a 60-percent owned subsidiary of Summit Ascent, and holds the entire equity interest in yet another firm – Russia-incorporated First Gambling Co of the East LLC (FGCE) which holds the gaming licence for the Primorye project. Oriental Regent holds the entire equity interest in FGCE and the Primorye project according to Wednesday’s filing.
Melco International also has a minority stake in Oriental Regent.
Dolphin also supplied US$3.3-million worth of casino currency to City of Dreams Manila, a casino resort in the Philippines operated by a unit of Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd, Mr Ho’s venture with Australian casino firm Crown Resorts Ltd. That resort officially opened on February 2.
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"If the [Macau casino] concessions are put up for bid, there will also be a lot of giant Chinese companies, some having nothing to do with gaming, which would like to take over these enormously successful casinos”
Professor emeritus at Whittier Law School in California, in the United States, and a visiting professor at University of Macau