The new owners of London’s high-end gaming venue Les Ambassadeurs Club plan to focus the business even more on the Asian high-roller market.
On Friday, property developer Landing International Development Ltd filed papers with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange detailing its upcoming April 27 special general meeting, at which shareholders will be asked to approve the company’s £137m acquisition of the Les A venue, which the company originally announced last December.
Landing told shareholders that Les A currently holds a 36% share of London’s high roller table drop and around 27% in terms of attendance. Landing notes that until 2011, the Middle East was the largest geographical source of the Club’s VIP clientele, but Asian clients claimed the majority (50.3%) of the Club’s customer base in 2015, while the Middle East category slipped to just under 37%.
Landing notes that an increased reliance on Chinese VIPs comes with its own set of challenges, including Beijing’s anti-corruption campaign, which means some VIPs “may not be willing to provide all required personal information” for the Club’s due diligence process.
The filing says the Club earned revenue of £49.2m in 2015, of which £21.6m came from gaming operations (primarily from its 45 gaming tables). Gaming revenue was down 79% from 2014 due to win rate falling to 2.2% from 9.9%, while daily table drop per head fell to £19,200 from £25,400.
Landing says it’s responsible for the table drop decline, having begun the purchase negotiations in March 2015 and therefore directed the Club’s management to “slow down the business in order to lower the gaming risk.” The Club’s operating profit fell 83% year-on-year to just under £3.5m.
Landing currently operates its own casino at the Hyatt Regency Jeju Hotel in South Korea and is also developing a new mega-resort on Jeju in partnership with Genting Singapore. Landing’s board “considers now the right timing to expand and diversify its gaming operations into other markets” and figures London is as good a place as any to start.