The gambling industry has been one of the fastest growing sectors all over the world especially around the Asia-Pacific region wherein multiple integrated resort casinos are quickly being established. With flexibility and high rates of return on investment being recorded, continuous development of these complexes and casinos are clearly evident throughout the area.
The regional market has also been rapidly multiplying, resulting in increased gambling revenue for legalized and offshore operators. As huge profits are to be made, it is expected that potential competitors may arise to take a slice of the cake. Russia, as it made plans back in 2009 to establish the Primorye Gaming Zone, is jumping on the bandwagon and actively continuing its development to officially conclude by 2023.
What is the Primorye Gaming Zone
It has been over a decade ago since Russian President Vladimir Putin declared gambling to be illegal throughout the country with the exception of four locations namely Altai, Krasnodar, Kaliningrad, and Primorsky Krai.
The establishment of the Primorye Gaming Zone was a grand vision deemed to be an entertainment and business destination. Located roughly 30 miles north of Vladivostok, the 620-hectare future casino hub is set to feature a total of 11 casino properties by 2023 according to head of Department of Tourism and vice governor Konstantin Shestakov.
A budget of $1.2 billion has been invested by both local and foreign participants including companies from Hong Kong, China, Cambodia and South Korea.
“We have entered the final stage of constructing two new entertainment complexes with casinos in the gambling zone. An investor from Cambodia is completing an 11-story hotel with a casino and a concert hall, while a Russian investor, Shambhala CJSC, will launch its casino tentatively in March 2020. Workers are already finishing the building,” Shestakov said in a statement late last year.
Given the current pandemic, delays have been met by the project’s development and only one casino is presently operational.
The Tigre de Cristal casino
The Tigre de Cristal casino operated by the company G1 Entertainment serves as the first property of the Primorye Gaming Zone and has been running since 2015. Hong Kong billionaire Lawrence Ho who controls gaming giant Melco Resorts, developed Tigre after the Russian casino struggled during its initial years. Located advantageously close to key markets such as China, Japan and South Korea, the complex caters to neighboring countries for their share of regular premium players.
So far, the single existing casino has been visited by 1.5 million people proving its viability and potential. With vast investments in line, the developing hub may even be a probable competitor against the largest gambling center Macau, in the near future.
A second casino in 2020
After years of operation as the country’s most successful casino, Tigre may finally have some competition beginning next month. Deputy Prime Minister of the Primorsky Territory Konstantin Shestakov, announced last May 2020 that the Shambala casino project is set to start operations this coming July while advising that the exact date will be up to the discretion of its owner.
Representing the soon-to-rise casino establishment, Dmitry Pisarenko confirmed the opening news, sharing that the overall construction of the property was already finished and that only interior detailing was left to be done. Pisarenko also explained that while the COVID-19 situation may have posed some minor problems, the bulk of materials and equipment required for construction to push through were already secured in advance allowing them to continue on the development.
Plans for the Shambala project were approved roughly three years ago back in 2017 and will serve as the second casino located in the Primorye Gaming Zone.
While ultimately a competitor for Tigre, the establishment of Shambala is a step closer to attaining the striking vision intended for the area as a whole. Shestakov likewise noted that the arrival of new properties would be linked to an expected boost for overall tourism in the region.
Naga Vladivostok in 2021
Hong Kong-listed gaming and hospitality company Nagacorp confirms its commitment to building $300 million casino resort, Naga Vladivostok in Russia’s Primorye Gaming Zone. The company giant’s founder Chen Lip Keong, whose net worth is believed to be around $5.2 billion, sees the Vladivostok gambling zone has huge potential for investment and is firm on moving forward with development amidst the current global pandemic.
Expected to have opened its initial phase this first half of 2020, a change in its construction contractor brought about unexpected delays. Reports say Chen is eyeing 2021 as the target date for the casino’s opening, considering construction has begun way back in 2015.
NagaCorp Chairman Tim McNally told investors last year, “It’s a new challenge, a different experience in terms of operating environment, but we’ll have a similar approach as we did in Cambodia.”
“We’ve got to be realistic and mindful about our commitments, but we are not closing our eyes and just limiting to where we are. We’ll keep looking at opportunities.”, he further added.