Suncity sheds more light on Vietnam resort casino project


suncity-vietnam-hoi-an-casinoAn affiliate of Asian casino junket operator Suncity Group has shed more light on its integrated resort joint venture in Vietnam.

On Wednesday, Suncity Group Holdings filed papers with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange confirming its plans to take a 34% stake in a resort casino project in Hoi An South in Vietnam’s Quang Nam province. The filing notes that the resort’s first phase – of a planned seven – began construction in April 2016 and “is expected to commence its operation in the second quarter of 2019.”

The investment will be made via Gold Yield Enterprises, which is 50% controlled by Suncity Group Holdings chairman Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, while the other 50% is held by Hong Kong conglomerate Chow Tai Fook Enterprises. All told, Gold Yield’s stake in the project totals 68%, with the remaining shares belonging to local real estate and development firm VinaCapital.

The filing notes that the resort’s foreigner-only casino offering will include 140 gaming tables and 1k slot machines. Suncity says its role in the resort’s operation will include providing “consultancy and management services” as regards casino and food & beverage facilities, while Suncity subsidiary Sun Travel Ltd. will promote the resort to its database of current and potential clients.

In order to launch gaming operations, the Hoi An project’s phase one must include around 1k rooms for various classes of lodgers. These will include a 313-room hotel for mass market guests, an all-suite hotel with 136 suites; a hotel villa with 74 rooms, 30 villa units for sale and timeshare rental, and a condo-hotel with 236 rooms for sale and timeshare rental.

Vietnam is preparing to embark on a three-year trial of relaxing its longstanding prohibition on local residents gambling in casinos. Suncity’s filing said it had no information on whether the Hoi An casino will be among the venues selected to participate in this program, but it doesn’t sound like Suncity will be too disappointed if it’s not.

The casino has a distinct type of preferred customer in mind, and “it is expected that major portion of the casino revenues will be generated by VIP patrons introduced by junket operators.” What’s more, “a large portion of our target patrons are expected to be [People’s Republic of China] customers” on gaming package tours.

Suncity is bullish on the Hoi An project’s ability to compete with Vietnam’s only currently operational integrated resort, the Grand Ho Tram Strip, as well as with the two other major resorts currently in development on Phu Quoc Island and the Van Don Economic Zone. Suncity believes Hoi An is more centrally located and more accessible than its current and future rivals.