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Georgia – Melcolot just weeks away from landing Georgian casino licence

By - 23 March 2015

Chinese lottery company Melcolot is likely to receive a casino operating licence from the Georgian government in the next few months.

The company, which counts Melco Entertainment Chairman Lawrence Ho on its board, wants to develop a casino in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.

Georgian Deputy Economic Minister Ketevan Bochorishvili said that Melcolot would probably receive its casino operator licence within two months, marking it first move into eastern Europe. Reports suggest that the casino will be built along with the US$140m Millennium Bilmore Hotel complex.
The hotel and casino are expected to open in January 2016.

Tsui Che Yin, Frank, Chairman and Non-executive Director of Melcolot, said: “The Group is engaged in discussions to launch a high end casino project in the Republic of Georgia. The casino will be strategically located in Tbilisi, the capital city, to attract visitors from the Black Sea area. Concurrently, the Group is making progress in the strategic move of conceiving, planning, and developing a premium integrated resort near Barcelona in Spain. The Group has been actively exploring these investment opportunities that are aimed at enhancing shareholders’ returns and are within the core expertise of the Directors. We believe that it is in the interests of the Group and its shareholders to diversify the business and to actively pursue new business opportunities to regain the Group’s growth momentum.”

The Group is engaged in the provision of lottery-related technologies, systems and solutions for two state-run lottery operators in the PRC, namely the China Welfare Lottery and the China Sports Lottery. It is a distributor of high quality, versatile lottery terminals and parts for the CSLA, which is the exclusive sports lottery operator in the PRC. The Group provides game upgrading technology and system maintenance service for the rapid draw game, “Shi Shi Cai” in the Chongqing Municipality. The Group has also developed a wide presence by managing a network of retail outlets in the PRC.

Revenues generated from the sales of lottery terminals and parts for the Sports Lottery amounted to HK$40.8m for the year 2014, representing a decrease of 17.4 per cent. This led to the group recording a loss of HK$66.5m for the year ended 31 December 2014.

The Chairman added: “The lottery business has expanded greatly in China over the past 20 years. The proceeds from lottery products have come to constitute a significant part of the government’s financial income. According to the data from the Ministry of Finance, lottery sales in China amounted to RMB382.4 billion for the year 2014, representing an increase of 23.6%. We believe the China lottery market will continue to grow very quickly. This situation is backed by rising disposable incomes in China, together with a low lottery penetration rate and low sales rates compared to other more developed nations in per capita terms. As the market is increasingly regulated by the government, the Group will focus on actively pursuing selected lottery projects in China.”

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