Primorye’s First Casino to Open in August

Lawrence Ho has confirmed that the first casino resort in the Primorye Integrated Entertainment Zone is expected to open as planned in August of this year. The IEZ is expected to tap into a strong Asian gambling market.

Reasonable tax rate, labor costs make for affordable investment

Last month, Summit Ascent Holdings Ltd., owned by Macau casino magnate Lawrence Ho, announced that the first phase of his new $172 million casino near Vladivostok will open by the end of August.

Tigre De Cristal will be the first casino resort in the Primorye Integrated Entertainment Zone. The first phase will include 65 gaming tables, 800 slot machines and 121 luxury hotel rooms. Eventually, reports MarketWatch, the IEZ will include additional casinos and hotels along with convention facilities, a marina, a golf course and an amusement park.

To date, investors have pledged $2.2 billion to the Primorye. It is 30 miles from the European city of Vladivostok, but also looks out on the Sea of Japan, borders Northeast China, and is sometimes considered more Asian than Russian.

Adding to its appeal for casino investors, the area is about a two-hour flight from Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo, home of 300 million enthusiastic gamblers. A low tax rate and affordable labor costs also make investment in the Primorye seem like a sure bet. Goldman Sachs predicts gross gaming revenues in the region will reach $1.7 billion by 2020.

The next license holder waiting in the wings is Cambodia-based NagaCorp Ltd., which is expected to complete its resort in the Primorye in 2018. And one of Japan’s largest residential development companies, Iida Group Holdings, is prepared to invest between $380 million and $450 million in a new resort on Russky Island, reported the Asia Gaming Brief.