Tigre de Cristal to Remain Major Casino Operator in Russian Far East till 2019

TIGRE DE CRISTALTigre de Cristal which is a casino resort operating inside an entertainment zone in Russian Far East is likely to retain its monopoly over the local market till 2019. It will be by then the first of its competing casinos are scheduled to start.

This casino resort is looking forward to developing a firm grip on the market as per the brokerage Union Gaming Securities Asia Ltd. Grant Govertsen who is an analyst with the company is speculating that the casino’s VIP revenue may grow by 80% on year to year basis for the year 2017.

Summit Ascent Holding Ltd, the company, owned by the Hong Kong billionaire Lawrence Ho, operated the Tigre de Cristal. It was opened two years ago in Primorye Integrated Entertainment Zone (IEZ) located in the proximity of the port city of Vladivostok. Over the past few months, the casino is receiving firm visits and revenues.

Some reports state that taxation system for casinos in Russia may change quite soon. However, Goversten says that such kind of thing is not possible and even if there were some increase it would have little impact because effective tax rate of Russia is 2% now.

The analyst, however, commented that the practice of currency exchange on this casino resort could be one of the reasons for dampening the foreign tourist mass business.

Goversten made the following statement:

Foreign currency must first be exchanged (for a fee) into roubles at a third-party bank located within Tigre de Cristal, which must then be exchanged for gaming chips. The process repeats itself in reverse when a customer is ready to leave, including incurring foreign exchange transaction fees again.

A report from Union Gaming predicts that by 2019 end, the Tigre de Cristal Phase 2A of Summit Ascent and Cambodia based casino operator NagaCorp Ltd’s project would be open to the customers. The Primorye zone was initially planned for four casinos, but 2 of them are affected by this delay.

The report further predicted that one casino operator Royal Time had lost its license because of repeated delays. Goversten said that Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister was reported to put undue pressure on the casino operators for getting the development work started in the zone. Diamond Fortune Holdings which is the 4th license holder recently began the construction and is likely to get completed 2019.

The zone is supported by the Government backed by infrastructural projects to empower visits by introducing numerous measures which include a new online system for visa application and a brand new highway to reduce the transit time between the Vladivostok’s airport and IEZ.

Jay Stevens

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