Tigre de Cristal, gaming entrepreneur Lawrence Ho Yau Lung’s casino market play in the Russian Far East, was holding its soft opening on Thursday as planned, a senior executive of the majority developer confirmed to GGRAsia.
No date for the official opening has yet been announced, but “late October” was mentioned in an August filing by the resort’s majority investor, Hong Kong-listed Summit Ascent Holdings Ltd.
Thursday’s soft launch involved the resort (pictured) inviting local officials and celebrities, and opening its doors to the public “at approximately 6.30pm local time,” Eric Landheer, Summit Ascent’s director of corporate finance and strategy, told GGRAsia.
“We will initially focus on mass and premium mass business and… we have had significant discussions with junkets from multiple jurisdictions,” added Mr Landheer.
The first phase of Tigre de Cristal has a capital budget of US$172 million and there is a commitment by Mr Ho and his partners to spend “up to” US$700 million in total, including a second phase currently scheduled to open in 2018.
The resort scheme is independent from Mr Ho’s casino investments in Macau and the Philippines done via Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd.
Phase 1 of Tigre de Cristal will have 42 mass-market tables, 25 VIP tables and 769 machines, Mr Landheer told GGRAsia in a September interview. Phase 2 will include a shopping mall, spa, nightclub, and conference and auditorium space.
Tigre de Cristal is the first to market of four casino resorts authorised for the Primorye Integrated Entertainment Zone – located 50 kilometres (31 miles) from Russia’s Pacific port of Vladivostok.
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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