Countdown begins to launch of new Russian gaming zone

Countdown begins to launch of new Russian gaming zone

Tuesday, October 13, 2015 Totally Gaming
Tigre de Cristal is the first casino to resort in the Primorye region

Melco Crown Entertainment co-chairman and chief executive Lawrence Ho’s $900m (€790.69m) Russian casino resort has undergone a successful soft launch ahead of next month’s projected official opening.

The Tigre de Cristal, located 50km from Vladivostock on Russia’s east coast, will offer 67 gaming tables, 769 electronic gaming machines, two restaurants, spa facilities and a 121-room hotel from November 12 and will become the first casino to open in Russia’s Primorye gaming zone.

Tigre de Cristal is owned by G1 Entertainment, in which Ho’s Summit Ascent Holdings holds a majority stake, although it is independent of Melco Crown Entertainment.

“The opening of the casino will strengthen the investment positions of the region, and will transform Primorye into a world-class recreation area attracting visitors from all over the Pacific Far East,” said Craig Ballantyne, Summit Ascent’s chief operating officer (Russian operations). “In addition, Tigre de Cristal will employ 1,200 people, 95 per cent of which are the locals.

“We have more than 300 million people living in a three-hour flight radius around here. We expect Russians to account for 80 per cent of our business in terms of bodies, but Chinese to make up 80 per cent of the business in money terms.”

While Primorye is one of six official gaming zones Russia, there are currently no casinos outside of properties in Krasnodar and Altai.

Properties owned by Royal Time Group, Nagacorp and Diamond Fortune are set to launch in Primorye in late 2017, while Tigre de Cristal is set to add a shopping mall, spa, nightclub, and conference and auditorium space by 2018.

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