Lawrence Ho, Co-Chairman of Macau-based operator Melco Crown Entertainment, is looking to open a casino in the Republic of Georgia.
According to a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Mr. Ho is hoping to secure $50m through the sale of shares in a special purpose vehicle via his Chinese lottery company MelcoLot Limited. He then plans to partner with Taiwanese company Firich Enterprises to develop the casino. The filing states that Firich will subscribe for 5,530 subscription shares whilst another investor, named as Oz, will subscribe for 200 shares. Firich is a shareholder in Beijing Telenet Information Technology whilst Oz is involved in developing food and beverage and other entertainment-related businesses in Georgia.
The filing states: “The casino project represents an opportunity for the MelcoLot Group to expand its business interests into the gaming and casino sector in the developing market of Georgia. The MelcoLot directors believe that this would provide synergies with and complement the existing lottery business of the MelcoLot Group. It is intended that SPV will utilise the net proceeds from the subscription of approximately US$49,890,000 to fund the costs and expenses related to securing the lease arrangements in respect of the project site of the casino project and payments under that lease, and the general development, implementation and running of the casino project.”
The group hopes the casino will be operational by the first quarter of 2016. Henry Ko Chun Fung is CEO of MelcoLot Limited, a company incorporated in the Cayman Islands, whilst its mother company Melco International is chaired by Lawrence Ho.