Summit Ascent, Holdings Ltd – a Hong Kong-listed firm controlled by casino entrepreneur Lawrence Ho Yau Lung – may have to cough up US$500 for the development of the second phase of Tigre de Cristal casino resort in the Russian Far East.
This was revealed by no less than Craig Ballantyne, executive director of G1 Entertainment LLC, the firm developing the project, who said that the phase 2 will include additional hotel rooms, shops, conference facilities and restaurants, according GGRAsia.
Ballantyne also estimated that the construction project, with a total area of 100,000 square metres (1.08 million sq feet), will generate around 2,000 jobs. His comments were reportedly featured in Primorsky Krai Development Corp’s official website, which was written in Russian.
Primorsky Krai is a state-owned firm responsible for the development of the Primorye Integrated Entertainment Zone, a casino development area located 50 kilometres (31 miles) from Russia’s Pacific port of Vladivostok.
Summit Ascent holds a majority stake in Tigre de Cristal’s operating company, G1 Entertainment. Melco Crown Entertainment CEO Lawrence Ho is the majority stakeholder in Summit Ascent. Taiwanese gaming device maker Firich Entertainment is a minority partner in G1, along with local Russian entities.
Tigre de Cristal officially opened its doors last November, and recorded HKD 258m ($33.2m) in VIP turnover that month. By June, VIP turnover had nearly tripled. But July’s unaudited figure shows VIP turnover hitting HKD 2b, rising again to HKD 2.2b in the first 30 days of August.
On the flip side, Tigre de Cristal’s mass market table business has proven “relatively disappointing.” Mass market table drop peaked at HKD 448m last December and sunk to HKD 303m in August, the second lowest total since the property opened.
International visitation to the Primorye region has undergone “explosive growth” this year. Local tourism authorities say the number of Chinese visitors – particularly from northeastern China – from January to July has already exceeded the total for all of 2015. Additional direct flights have since been added from Beijing, Shanghai, Dalian and other key markets.