In October of the last year, Summit Ascent Holdings, owned by the Chinese billionaire Lawrence Ho, officially launched the first of numerous casinos in the Primorye gaming zone of Russia. All rooms at Tigre de Cristal were booked by foreign visitors prior to the official opening ceremony. It turned out that it was more difficult to the Russian gamblers to get there compared to, for instance, fans of gambling from China.
According to preliminary estimates, 80% of revenues should have been obtained thanks to the Russian tourists. However, it turned out that up to 80% of revenues came from the foreign gamblers, primarily Chinese. Due to the problems with junket operators and the fact that the Asian gamblers were afraid of the harsh Siberian winter, the casino, located within a three-hour flight from the millions of potential Chinese, Korean, and Japanese customers, closed its first fiscal year with a negative balance, reaching 11 million USD. According to analysts, the percentage of international customers reached 80%.
The Summit Ascent, which owned 60% of casino shares, reported in March that it had been receiving $1.8 million of income (without taxes, depreciation costs, and amortization costs) for three months of operations.
According to GGRAsia, the Summit Ascent has recently signed a contract with a large junket operator, which will start its operations in May of this year. In addition, the company is going to sign agreements with two operators involved in the organization of junket tours. According to analysts, only the fruitful cooperation of Tigre de Cristal with the operators will be able to provide a high level of income from VIP customers.
Starting from spring, the gambling house can notice a significant increase in the number of Chinese visitors. The free port status was granted to Vladivostok previous year. So, the city can accept numerous buses full of Chinese tourists. According to some reports, the Russian authorities are willing to simplify the visa requirements at the beginning of July. If these changes are approved, foreign visitors will be able to apply for a visa online a few days prior to the expected date of departure. The visa will be provided upon arrival. Tigre de Cristal is located 30 kilometers from the Vladivostok International Airport.
Four foreign operators have already begun to build casinos near the Tiger de Cristal resort complex, as well as in other gaming zones. For example, the opening ceremony of Magic Crystal Casino took place in the Yantarnaya gaming zone two weeks ago.