An affiliate of Asia’s leading casino junket operator Suncity Group has announced a deal to operate a hotel and casino in the Philippines.
On Tuesday, the Hong Kong-listed Suncity Group Holdings announced its involvement in a complicated “co-development” agreement with two Philippine-based firms – Suntrust Home Developers Inc and Westside City Resorts World Inc – with the ultimate aim of running a casino-hotel in Manila’s Entertainment City gaming zone.
Through a thick haze of subsidiaries, the deal will see Suncity buy a 51% stake in Suntrust, which has been granted the right to act as “the sole and exclusive operator and manager of the Main Hotel Casino” in the resort. This hotel casino will boast 400 rooms, 400 gaming tables and 1,200 slot machines.
Westside City is latest name of the project overseen by Travellers International Hotel Group Inc, a joint venture of Alliance Global Group and Genting Hong Kong, which has been touting its Entertainment City plans for five years now. The property has undergone several name changes while actual construction work has lagged. Originally scheduled to open in 2018, Tuesday’s filing said the project was now targeting a 2023 opening.
Suncity’s funding for this deal will come from its CEO Alvin Chau, who also controls the Suncity Group junket. Suncity Group Holdings focuses on commercial property development and VIP travel services, but is increasingly branching out into integrated resort management.
In 2018, Suncity announced a partnership to run gaming operations at a casino in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. This spring, Suncity announced it had struck a similar deal with the Hoiana integrated resort in Vietnam’s Quang Nam province. Suncity also holds a 34% stake in the Hoiana joint venture.
Chau (pictured) is also the chairman of Summit Ascent Holdings, the company that controls the Tigre de Cristal casino in Russia’s far east Primorye gaming zone. Suncity holds a 28% stake in Summit Ascent.
Suncity’s various offshoots recently joined the hunt for a Japanese integrated resort license, partnering with Bloomberry on a potential project in Wakayama. Suncity announced this week that it was enlisting the support of architectural firm Aedas to design what Suncity called “the world’s first IR 2.0,” which would combine the local “historical tradition, natural landscape and cultural essence.”
Suncity Group is believed to control as much as 40% of Macau’s VIP gambling business but Chau apparently has a more vertically integrated model in mind for his companies. Ironically, junkets are often referred to as middlemen by casino operators, but Chau appears to view the casinos as the middlemen he wants to cut out of Suncity’s picture.