Casino investor Summit Ascent Holdings Ltd says growth in the premium mass and VIP business at its Tigre de Cristal casino resort, in the Russian Far East, “will depend heavily” on border policies as both segments rely on tourists.
The Hong Kong-listed company completed recently an “upgrade” to Tigre de Cristal’s first phase, including a Suncity Premium Club. In its interim report for the first half of 2021, released on Wednesday, the firm said the new club was “operational”, but that it would only be fully utilised once borders reopen.
The company, chaired by Macau junket promoter Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, also said it was optimistic that improving vaccination rates worldwide would allow “talks of border reopening”.
In August, the firm posted gross gaming revenue (GGR) of HKD139.1 million (US$17.9 million) for the six months to June 30, up 9.4 percent from the prior-year period, supported by growth in the mass-market segment. The company reported zero revenue in the VIP gaming segment during the first six months of 2021.
Summit Ascent said in its interim report that its operating expenses “can be sustained” by its mass-table and slot businesses, which are supported by local customers.
In the report, Summit Ascent said it was “excited” by the resumption of international flights to Vladivostok International Airport, namely from the South Korean capital, Seoul, and the Japanese capital, Tokyo.
But the firm admitted that the number of tourists arriving at Vladivostok via these flights was low “due to back-and-forth quarantine requirements”.
South Korea’s health authorities imposed in July a two-week quarantine period for passengers coming from Russia whereas all people arriving in Japan are required to self-isolate at home for 14 days.
Nonetheless, Summit Ascent said it believes the recent and “would-be” openings of new integrated resorts in the Primorye Integrated Entertainment Zone can “turn the area into a leisure destination on its own” in the long-term.
The interim report added that the “uncertainty” in Japan’s gaming liberalisation policy might pose an opportunity for Primorye, where Tigre de Cristal is located, because the zone is “only a short flight away for Japanese tourists”.
Hong Kong-listed Suncity Group Holdings Ltd – headed by Mr Chau – is the controlling shareholder of Summit Ascent. Suncity Group Holdings controls approximately 69.66 percent of Summit Ascent.
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