Primorye, close to the port city of Vladivostok, is seen as the most promising of the zones given its proximity to northern China, as well as Korea and Japan.
Hong Kong-listed NagaCorp, operator of Cambodia’s NagaWorld, will start construction of its gaming facility in Primorye in November this year, the regional government has said.
The project - which includes hotel facilities, along with a casino and a water park - is on schedule.
“We expect to launch our first facility in the summer of 2018. At the moment, we are finishing the preparation of the land lot. Construction teams of our Chinese contractor China Harbour Engineering Company are ready to start,” chairman Tim McNally was cited as saying.
During the first stage of the project, the company plans to build a 11-storey hotel complex with a casino, allocating $70 million. The facility will include a hotel with 279 rooms and a 2,000-seat concert hall, with 300 slot machines and 30 gaming tables in the casino lobby.
NagaCorp’s plans were confirmed by the local authorities. “Builders will come to the construction site within the time period specified in our investment agreement with NagaCorp.
At the last meeting we agreed [it would happen] in the end of October or early November,” representative Andrei Folomeev said.
The company began the development of its land lots in Primorye in May 2015. It is the only investor whose facilities are situated on the gulf shore.
Investment in the project is expected to total $450 million, and it is scheduled to be completed by 2021.
Meanwhile, Summit Ascent’s Tigre de Cristal resort, which opened in Primorye a year ago, has seen increasing visitation and rolling volumes.
The company said its rolling chip turnover rose from HK$258,197 ($33,296) in November last year when it made its debut, to HK$2 billion in July and HK$2.2 billion in August. In its interim results announcement, Summit Ascent said it expected its performance to further improve in the second half of the year.
Average daily visitation has doubled in the past quarter, with total visitor numbers exceeding 190,000 since the beginning of the year.
Bookie tax slammed as “oppressive”
The Finance Ministry has published new amendments to the law on gambling which require bookmakers and totes to give part of their proceeds for the development of sports, Russian news outlet Vedomosti reports. According to the latest amendments, the ministry plans to charge bookmakers 3 percent of their revenue once a quarter and the money will be transferred to the federal budget. The industry has criticized the proposals as “oppressive.” There are currently 31 bookmakers and totes operating in Russia, according to the explanatory note to the draft law.
William Hill exits Russia
William Hill Casino Club, an online casino project of the UK’s largest bookmaker William Hill, has stopped servicing its Russian clients and announced it is leaving the Russian market. “The environment for carrying out gambling activities in Russia has become more complex, despite the fact that the company has official licenses. Hence, we have decided to leave the Russian market,” gambling-related news website Newsofgambling. com quoted William Hill representatives as saying.
The average daily visits expanded to 1,000 in Q3 from 500 between July and September of this year, according to a statement from the tourism department of the regional government.
Some 30 percent of casino visitors are foreign tourists from Asia, in particular from Mainland China and South Korea.
The casino has yielded some RUB500 million ($8 million) in tax revenue for the government over the past year.
Chinese company Tianci Hot Springs has also said it plans to build a resort in the zone, although it’s not clear whether it will include a casino.
“We hope that our project will be a hotel complex with an access to the sea, spa, mud therapy options, thermal springs. Such a complex won’t operate just within a short season, but will work all year round. The hotel should become an integral part of nature. It is now a very fashionable trend in China - the construction of closed parks and reserves for tourists. It has not yet emerged in Russia. And the Far East seems to Asians as a ‘pure’ place, not polluted,” the company’s chairman was quoted as saying.
The businessman added that the complex will receive tourists from the Asia-Pacific region.
“We also consider the option of building villas for a long-term lease, as well as houses. I am sure that Asians would wish to buy property here,” he added. The exact location of the new resort has not been decided yet.
In other gaming zones, the first casino in Sochi, the site of the 2014 winter Olympics, is expected to open its doors in December, the city’s administration representative Yulia Malorodnova, said.
“The soft-launch of the first casino is scheduled for December 24, while a grand launch is expected on 5 January 2017,” Malorodnova said at the Sochi Gaming Week.
According to her, the Sochi gambling zone, which will be located in local resorts “Gorky Gorod” and “Roza Khutor”, will be able to accommodate about 1,700 at the same time. “Operators of gambling zones plan to receive up to 600,000 visitors to Sochi a year,” Malorodnova said, adding that the gambling business is expected to bring not less than RUB 120 million ($2 million) in taxes to the city budget.
While in Crimea, the government is currently in talks with a major investor for its future gambling zone. According to Betting Business Russia, which cited unidentified sources, the unidentified investor plans to invest up to $150 million in its development. “There is a major investor who is willing to invest in the project from $120 million to $150 million. He intends to rent all the areas allocated for the gaming zone to sublet them to other investors wishing to participate in the project,” the source was quoted as saying. He added the investor’s core activity is in construction.
Summit Ascent denied reports it was planning to invest in either the Crimea or Sochi zones.