Hong Kong-listed casino operator NagaCorp is considering a separate floatation to help finance its in-development Russian casino project near Vladivostok. The $369m Primorsky Entertainment Resort City (PERC) project isn’t expected to open until 2018 and ground won’t be broken until mid-2015 at the earliest, but NagaCorp chairman Tim McNally told GGRAsia the company was having talks with some “well-known international financial groups” about financing options. McNally declined to offer a hint as to where a new public listing would take place.
NagaCorp is one of only two casino operators – the other being Lawrence Ho’s Summit Ascent Holdings – to confirm plans to operate in Russia’s far east. The region is one of four geographically remote areas Russia authorized to host casino gambling in 2009. These four have since been joined by the recently annexed Crimea region but major investors have been hesitant about setting up shop in areas that are largely inaccessible to all but the most intrepid Russian tourists.
But hope abounds now that the Altai Republic region has seen the launch of its first casino. The Siberian Coin gaming joint opened for business last week, offering 16 gaming tables and 20 electronic gaming machines. The facility is part of the Altai Palace Hotel Resort (pictured), which is set for its official launch in April 2015, by which time the casino plans to be operating a total of 30 gaming tables.
The Siberian Times quoted the casino’s backer Roman Spodyrev saying the plan was to operate charter flights to bring gamblers in from Omsk and Krasnoyarsk, Siberia’s second- and third-largest cities, respectively.While the property will look to lure big spenders to its VIP rooms, Spodyrev says the casino will also feature “low-cost slot machines where the minimum bet is just one ruble.” Given that one ruble equals just over two US pennies, let’s hope the machines are durable, because it’s going to take a long time to recoup the initial outlay. (Thoughtfully, a pawnshop will be located on the second floor of the resort.)
Siberian Coin may not rival the mega-resorts in other Asian gaming jurisdictions, but it does boast one very cool feature. The architects saw fit to install soundproof ‘alibi’ phone booths that offer a selection of background noises – airport PA announcements, traffic sounds, etc. – to allow gamblers to call home/work without giving away their true location. We’d have gone one further by installing green screens on which to project accompanying visual images – this is the age of Skype, after all – but it’s a start.