On Wednesday, Suncity Group Holdings Ltd informed the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that it had entered into a strategic partnership with Golden Sun Sky Entertainment Co Ltd, which is building a US$360m, 650k-square-foot integrated resort on Otres Beach in Sihanoukville that hopes to open to the public by the end of 2019.
Suncity says its role will be to provide “certain consultancy services” to Golden Sun Sky’s resort, which has been licensed to operate casino gaming, sports betting, hotels and duty-free market facilities in Cambodia. However, Suncity says its obligations could expand as the parties formalize specific contracts.
Sihanoukville, located on Cambodia’s southwestern coast, has witnessed an influx of Chinese nationals in recent years thanks to a flood of local infrastructure projects and increased tourist travel. Where the Chinese go, gambling inevitably follows, and Sihanoukville has witnessed an explosion in small-scale land-based and online gaming operations that has concerned some local officials.
Little is known about Golden Sun Sky, which was only established in March 2017, except that it’s part of the mainland investment group China Yunnan Jingcheng Group Co Ltd. The description of the proposed integrated resort would seem to dwarf Sihanoukville’s current casinos, most of which offer a dozen or fewer baccarat tables and few electronic gaming machines.
Suncity Group Holdings is technically distinct from Suncity Group, which controls over 40% of Macau’s casino junket market, but Holdings is majority controlled by Suncity Group boss Alvin Chau. Suncity Group has an existing junket relationship with Cambodia’s only large casino operator NagaCorp, which operates the sole gaming venue in the capital Phnom Penh.
Last month, Suncity Group Holdings reported a sizeable increase in its H1 losses, which the company blamed in part on delays in finalizing the deal to take a one-third stake in an integrated resort project in Vietnam’s Quang Nam province. That deal was finally carved in stone last week, which evidently enabled the company to proceed with its other regional casino ambitions.