NagaCorp, which operates NagaWorld in Phnom Penh, reported gross gaming revenue of $113.5m in the first three months of 2015, a 47% improvement over the same period last year. VIP gaming turnover was up 79% to $1.7b and VIP gaming revenue more than doubled to $65.5m. Mass market turnover rose a comparatively modest 12% and revenue gained 8% to $44.3m.
It’s quite a turnaround from the same quarter last year, when the mass market outperformed VIPs by $11.7m. But it’s worth remembering that, while NagaWorld is by far the biggest casino in Cambodia, $66.5m is a grain of sand on Macau’s VIP beach (even the new slimmed down version). And overall Q1 revenue is only up 4% from Q4 2014., so growth appears to be slowing.
The VIP bonanza also comes at a cost. In February, NagaCorp reported total 2014 revenue up 17% but profits down 3% thanks to “higher incentives given to junket operators to promote NagaWorld to the rest of Asia (including China).” This week’s filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange offered no specifics on NagaCorp’s Q1 profits, with the company saying only that the dark and terrible secret would eventually be exposed in its interim and annual reports.
Cambodia has nearly 60 casinos in total – with a few more on the launch pad – but most are small-scale affairs clustered in towns bordering Vietnam and Thailand. Cambodia’s government earned $25m in tax revenue from casino gaming operations in 2014.