‘Phenomenal month-on-month growth’ from the Asian VIP gaming sector has seen Tigre De Cristal in Russia’s Primorsky Krai region, post a net profit of US$219,100 for its first six month.
The company who owns 60 per cent of the casino, Summit Ascent Holdings Limited, revealed that this time last year it made a loss of $5.6m. The casino has been operating an average of 23 mass gaming tables, up to 14 VIP tables and 319 slots.
Rolling chip turnover increased from $33.2m in Tigre’s first month of operation in November to $257.8m in July increasing to $283.6m for August
Summit stated: “Our rolling chip business targeting the Asian VIP market has seen phenomenal month-on-month growth, vindicating our investment thesis that Primorsky Krai is an ideal location to capture the significantly underserved gaming demand in northeast Asia. Our strategy has been to start our rolling chip business using only casual junkets initially without fixed-room operators. This strategy is deemed necessary in order to preserve the bargaining power of the casino vis-a-vis fixed-room operators. Thus far, our strategy has been proven to be correct. This is evidenced by the fact that rolling chip turnover has been increasing on a month-on-month basis since the commencement of business in November last year and dramatically increased following the start of two fixed-room operators in late June of 2016.”
Mass-market table gaming was described as ‘relatively disappointing’ generating $39m in August from a high of $57.7m in December. Slots accounted for $180.5m in June and $154.7 m in August.
Summit added: “Our top 30 premium local customers account for approximately 40 per cent of our total mass market drop. The spending power of our premium local customers has been constrained by the continuing weakness in the Russian economy as a result of the economic sanctions imposed on the Russian Federation and weak energy prices. While the ramp-up of the local market has thus far been constrained by the weakness in the Russian economy, we remain sanguine on its growth potential as we have witnessed the tremendous efforts made by the Russian federal government and the Primorye provincial government to encourage the growth of tourism and business investment in the region with significant growth in tourist visitation from neighbouring Asian countries. Further improvements in the local economy from the aforementioned efforts may assist in more growth in our mass business.”
Away from gaming the operator stated: “The health spa and the virtual golf zone were recently opened for operation. Completion of these facilities has enhanced the resort’s non-gaming facilities and helped to drive visitation, longer stays, and underpin growth in gaming activities. We expect to open the jewellery shop, convenience store and on-site travel agency very soon. 24 In line with this increased visitation, we have also seen increased hotel occupancy rates. Since July, most weekends are at or close to 100 per cent occupancy, and weekdays are running at above 66 per cent occupancy. Food and beverage covers have also increased dramatically as we have implemented more non-gaming entertainment such as our “Cristal Broadway” talent competition in the summer of 2016.”