Asian casino operator Donaco International is plotting an ambitious geographic expansion of both land-based and online gaming operations.
On Friday, Donaco CEO Joey Lim Keong Yew told Malaysia’s The Star that his company hopes to expand from its current casino foothold in Cambodia and Vietnam into other Asia-Pacific markets, including Macau, South Korea, the Philippines and Japan, over the next five years. The expansion could take the form of either new development or acquisitions, according to Lim.
Lim said “the next three to five years” would be a pivotal period for the Australian-listed company in terms of regional expansion, “particularly by digitizing gaming experience.” It was nearly one year ago that Donaco first informed investors of its Cambodian online gambling license and Lim said the company was eager to assume a role in “this lucrative business.”
In late August, Donaco announced that its flagship StarVegas casino in Cambodia planned to launch its online gambling operations this month. Last week, Lim told The Star that the online gambling platform would launch “in next month,” leaving open the possibility that the launch could be delayed until October.
Lim said the online platform had already been developed via a third-party, believed to be one of StarVegas’ junket operators, with which Donaco has struck a revenue-sharing partnership. Lim also revealed that Donaco was developing a social gaming platform.
Lim said Donaco’s Aristo International Hotel (pictured) in Vietnam’s northern Lao Cai province would get a boost in late-2018 from the completion of a regional airport. Currently, Lao Cai is a four-hour drive from the Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi.
Lim is open to developing a new Vietnamese gaming property now that the government is preparing to launch a three-year trial of allowing local residents to set foot on casino floors. But the government has insisted on a minimum $2b investment in any new casino projects, which would represent a significant upgrade from the size of Donaco’s existing operations.
Donaco is also preparing to branch out into property development on the grounds where the original Aristo property stood. The “redevelopment and urban regeneration” of this area will reportedly encompass both residential and commercial properties, although no fixed timelines were provided for when to expect the launch of this development arm.