Russia’s far east gaming zone outside Vladivostok appears to be having difficulty attracting bids on its undeveloped land plots.
In late August, the state-owned Development Corporation of the Primorsky Territory announced that it was extending the August 28 deadline for companies to submit applications to participate in the auction of subleases in the Primorye gaming zone. The delay was reportedly due to potential investors’ request for more time to get their paperwork in order.
The new deadline for applications was set for September 28 (this Thursday), but a Primorsky Krai Development spokesperson told GGRAsia on Monday that the firm had yet to receive any formal applications. The spokesperson claimed that “our headquarters are staying in touch with investors and companies,” including a Russian firm that is reportedly considering participating in the auction.
At present, there is only one functioning casino in Primorye – Lawrence Ho’s Tigre de Cristal – and the company has claimed that Russian laws requiring customers to first change their foreign currency into rubles before buying casino chips is one of the factors that puts off some high rollers from being willing to pick Primorye as a preferred gaming destination.
Russian legislators have listened to other requests, including expanding visa access to foreign visitors. These rules reportedly helped bring about a 30% year-on-year rise in the number of direct weekly flights to the region in the month of August.
On Monday, the Primorsky Krai Development firm announced that Cambodian casino operator NagaCorp, which hopes to open its Naga Vladivostok casino in H2 2019, had signed a memorandum of understanding earlier this month with Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (SCA) to facilitate charter flights from Asia-Pacific countries to Vladivostok.
The Sukhoi MOU involves NagaCorp’s Bassaka Air airline service, which Naga founded three years ago as a joint venture with China International Travel Services to boost travel between Chinese cities and NagaCorp’s flagship casino in Phnom Penh.
Monday’s report claimed it was premature to discuss the ramifications of the Sukhoi deal on Bassaka Air’s business, but it’s clear the Primorsky Krai office wants to pump out as much potentially positive news as it can to offset growing suspicions that the Primorye gaming zone is failing to live up to its early projections.