Lawrence Ho’s Tigre de Cristal casino and hotel located near Vladivostok, Russia has seen VIP revenues increase 20% while mass gaming fell January through June compared to the same period a year ago.
Summit Ascent Holdings Ltd reported revenue of $26.1 million for the first half of 2017 in a Thursday filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
In their 2016 half year interim report the company posted a small profit, but this year the numbers are in the red about the same amount. Profits swung from about $703,000 to a six-month loss in 2017 of about $690,180 on line items not related to the company’s Russian casino operation. Last year’s gain was partly attributed to the disposal of their share of a non-gaming business in the first half of 2016.
The casino saw rolling chip turnover more than double over last year from three hundred and fifty million to over a billion dollars in US currency equivalents. “Rolling chips” refer to the amount of money high rollers bet at the tables. Revenue on the action, mainly from Northeast Asian VIP customers, rose 48% to $10,186,540 through June compared to about $6,900,000 for the first six months of 2016.
“Mass table business in the first half of 2017 saw a small decline in volume compared to the corresponding period in 2016,” said the firm in the filing, according to a report on GGRAsia. “It is mainly because foreign banknotes are not allowed to be used for settling gaming wins or losses under the current Russian legislation. This has discouraged a lot of our Asian customers from making sizeable bets on mass tables.”
Not accounting for Siberian winters, mass gaming should rise considerably going forward due to the implementation of a simplified visa regime that went into effect in August. The filing noted that foreign nationals from 18 countries can now visit and apply upon arrival. The company said that “Combined with increasing flight connectivity and ongoing efforts of the Russian government to promote the Russian Far East as a tourism destination, [the visa regime] will accelerate the already explosive growth of foreign tourism.”