Russian casino operator Diamond Fortune Holdings says it plans to open its new casino in the far east Primorye gaming zone by September 2020.
This week, Diamond Fortune CEO Thomas Gibbons told GGRAsia that Selena, the company’s in-development $900m resort casino complex in the Primorye gaming zone outside Vladivostok, was targeting a September 2020 opening “at the latest” for the resort’s initial casino operations.
Diamond Fortune broke ground on the project in June 2017 and Gibbons said company would likely outlay $220m on the project’s first phase, which “will be divided into A and B phases, with the casino being built first at a cost of $70m.”
The company hopes to open a small allotment of 25 hotel rooms to accompany the casino launch, with the rest of the $150m hotel complex to be finished at some unspecified later date.
Phases two and three of the project will involve a second gaming facility the company is calling (for the time being, at least) Moon Gate, and more hotel space, which will bring the property’s total available rooms to around 1,300. But Gibbons said the company would “see how Selena goes first” before proceeding with the later phases.
At present, Primorye has only one operational casino, Summit Ascent’s Tigre de Cristal, but Cambodian casino operator NagaCorp is currently building its Naga Vladivostok resort, which the company has said it hopes to open in the second half of 2019. Other investors have publicly mused about putting down roots in Primorye but have yet to follow through on these talks.
Gibbons expressed optimism that “there’s enough business around for several casinos” in Primorye, assuming the region’s annual international tourist arrivals continue to rise at 2017’s double-digit pace.
Those hopes got a boost last week after Russia’s Ministry of Culture and the Federal Agency for Tourism announced that the Primorye gaming zone would be included in the ‘Eastern Ring of Russia,’ an inter-regional tourist route that will recommend a variety of attractions on Russia’s eastern shores to foreign travelers.
On the domestic front, Russian airline IrAero announced this week that it would make its Moscow to Vladivostok flights part of its regular schedule starting December 1, which will double the number of weekly flights between the two cities.
While these are welcome developments, Gibbons would like to see casinos exempted from Primorye’s in-door smoking ban. Gibbons said he was in talks with the government regarding possibly allowing Macau-style smoking lounges so that smokers won’t die of exposure after stepping outside for a butt in Primorye’s icy winter climes.