Macau Legend Development Ltd says it is buying a company that owns land in Cambodia that could eventually house a Macau Legend-branded “integrated resort”.
Monday’s filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange by Macau Legend – known as an operator of casino venues in Macau and Laos – did not mention gaming in relation to the Siem Reap resort.
In late May, a Cambodian government official had been quoted saying gambling business was “not allowed” in Siem Reap, home to the country’s UNESCO World Heritage site Angkor Wat.
Macau Legend has agreed to pay the land seller, Wang Jieman alias Wang Kitman, US$90.01 million for all of the stock in a Cambodian company, Howing Enterprises Co Ltd. The buyer said Howing holds about 1,200 hectares (2,965 acres) of land in the Cambodian province of Siem Reap.
“The acquisition of the land by the group is intended for construction and development of an integrated resort in Siem Reap province, Cambodia, allowing the group to take part in and benefit from the tourism industry of Cambodia, which is important for the group’s long-term development as well as the broadening of its revenue base,” Macau Legend told the stock exchange.
Macau Legend chief executive David Chow Kam Fai announced in May the company’s strategy to buy land in Siem Reap for what he called an integrated resort, without making clear if it might contain a casino, as is typically implied by the expression.
Macau Legend runs the Babylon Casino and the Legend Palace Casino in Macau on the strength of the Macau gaming licence held by SJM Holdings Ltd. Macau Legend also operates the Savan Legend Resorts Hotel and Entertainment Complex in Laos, a venue that has been undergoing a revamp.
Neighbouring Cambodia is seen as a market “ripe” for hosting an international gaming brand. In June, Andrew Klebanow, senior partner at business consultancy Global Market Advisors LLC, told GGRAsia that Cambodia’s willingness to welcome mainland Chinese tourists made it a likely spot for new gaming projects.
An update on Cambodia’s progress in regulatory oversight of casinos – published in September last year by the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering – said that as of the end of 2016, Cambodia had 63 licensed casinos.
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Daisy Ho Chiu Fung
Chairman of Macau casino operator SJM Holdings