Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District, Yury Trutnev visited the newly opened Tigre de Cristal casino recently along with Primorye Governor Vladimir Miklushevsky. The officials noted that the journey from Vladivostok, about 50km (30 miles) away was lengthy, “because of the long and winding road,” said the presidential envoy.
Local media also reported that many visitors coming to the casino for its soft-launch (a practice common in the industry wherein a casino opens with limited gaming and amenities) became lost along the way and were unable to easily find the new casino.
The Deputy PM has proposed a solution that would make accessing the Primorye Integrated Entertainment Zone (IEZ) more convenient for guests. A sea route to the IEZ would add another option for some of the hundreds of millions of visitors expected to eventually explore the “new Macau” of the Far East. Currently four developments are progressing in the zone that eventually will see at least 8 casinos opened along with theme parks, yachting, entertainment venues and other family friendly non-gaming amenities.
Nearby Vladivostok was recently deemed “free port” status. This could open the way for Chinese tourists to arrive via border crossings in tour buses as well as ease visa restriction at Vladivostok International Airport, about 12km or 8 miles away. The resort location is on Murav’inaya Harbor near Cherepaha Cape, with some roads in the complex less than 30 meters, or 100 feet from the sea.
Another issue the Deputy PM bemoaned was the lack of hotel space. When Tigre de Cristal fully opens on November 11th, only 121 guestrooms and suites will be available. A total of 500 rooms are planned for the property perhaps as early as 2018. Russian media are reporting that Mr. Trutnev has said that all rooms at the casino’s hotel are already booked through the end of this year, and that those reservations have been taken up by foreign tourists. Russian visitors will presumably need to travel home at the end of each gambling session, causing inconvenience and safety issues. Marketing outlooks for the resort have mentioned numbers such as 80% of guests coming from Russia with as much as 80% of gross gaming revenue coming from China, South Korea, and Japan – all within 2-3 hours of the IEZ.
Tigre de Cristal, is majority owned by Lawrence Ho’s Summit Ascent Holdings. The casino has been open since October 8, 2015. Mr. Ho is also celebrating the opening of his $3.2 billion Studio City Macau today with Melco Crown partner, James Packer.