41 Lim Byoung-soo
President and Chief Executive
Grand Korean Leisure
Apart from Paradise Group, which has been running foreigners only casinos in South Korea since the 1960s, the other big operator in the market, Grand Korea Leisure, is a relative upstart. Together, Paradise and GKL generate up to 90% of foreigners-only revenue—a share that Paradise had controlled by itself prior to GKL’s establishment in 2005.
GKL was set up as a subsidiary of the Korea National Tourism Organization, with the objectives of promoting tourism, raising money to fund tourism projects and helping to reform the Korean image of gaming as a social evil. It opened three casinos—two in Seoul and one in the port city of Busan—under its Seven Luck brand in 2006, and by 2010 had grabbed an estimated 54% of the foreigners-only market, though Paradise soon reclaimed the lead as GKL slipped firmly into second place.
The three-month outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in South Korea beginning 20th May derailed a strong run of growth for the country’s foreigners-only casino operators. Although GKL’s casino revenue was up 4.9% year on year in the second quarter to KW122.4 billion ($103 million), it was down 18% over the first quarter. The South Korean government proclaimed an end to the outbreak ast month, giving rise to hopes of a resumption of the tourism industry’s recent boom, driven in particular by surging Chinese visitor numbers.
GKL’s share of the foreigners-only market in the second quarter stood at 37.2% compared to Paradise’s 47.4%. The gap is likely to widen when Paradise launches Korea’s first integrated resort, slated to open near Incheon in early 2017. Lim Byoung-soo, in his second year at the company’s helm, is trying to counter that by expanding Seven Luck’s Seoul Gangnam branch within the next year or so. GKL is also pursuing approval to operate casino cruises and has put together a proposal to develop an integrated resort of its own. The government last month announced the commencement of the process to accept formal proposals for two additional foreigners only integrated resort projects, after the concept phase drew 34 applicants, including GKL.
Failure to get approval for its IR project would consign GKL to a perennial runner-up position in the market. And even if it does manage to get approval—the government has said it will likely be December before it announces the two winning bids—it’ll still have a lot of catching up to do.
42 Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges
Chief Executive Officer
Hong Kong Jockey Club
The leadership of Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges is transforming the experience for fans of the Hong Kong Jockey Club and paying sizable benefits to the city’s people.
Since taking the helm as chief executive in 2007, the onetime professional footballer has re-energized the fortunes of the venerable HKJC and its two famed courses, elevating the quality of the competition and spearheading a reinvestment strategy that has seen the club spend upwards of HK$3 billion to upgrade its facilities and direct its focus toward the pursuit of the sport’s aficionados of tomorrow by diversifying the entertainment offering with new restaurants, live music, themed party nights and wine-tastings. Last year, the club added a betting venue in Beijing to generate more revenue from mainland Chinese and has launched co-mingled wagering with tracks in the United States, solidifying the status of Hong Kong pools as the largest in the world.
“Since the 2005-2006 season, turnover has increased 79.7%, which is testament to the successful strategies the club has undertaken in that time to revitalize Hong Kong horseracing,” he noted in a July press conference to announce the results of the 2014- 15 season.
Speaking of that season, when the last horse crossed the finish line on 12th July, betting and attendance year on year were up 5.8% and 2.6%, respectively. More than 2 million people had turned out for the 83 meets at Sha Tin and Happy Valley, the most in 12 years. Their wagering totaled HK$107.9 billion, setting a new record for the third consecutive season.
The performance generated $12 billion in taxes for the government of Hong Kong and lifted the club’s donations to city charities to $3.87 billion, also a record.
But to get a real idea of the impact that Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges’ leadership has had on Hong Kong, when betting and lottery duties, profits tax, contributions to the Lotteries Fund and charitable September 2015 inside asian gaming 51 donations are factored together, the total exceeds $25 billion.
“This is a result of the right strategy, the right investment in facilities and technology,” he said. “I think it has to do with people— we have a fantastic team who are able to understand what our customers want and provide those services.”
At the same time, he acknowledges that 2014-15’s performance will be difficult to emulate in the year ahead as economic headwinds in greater China conspire to make the new season “a little bit more challenging,” as he has put it. But “It is not for us to rest on our laurels,” he said. “Our goal is to improve further.”
He’s also facing the challenges of a management restructuring in the wake of the pending departure of his hand-picked executive director, the accomplished Bill Nader, a former head of the New York Racing Association who has been instrumental in assisting Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges in turning the club’s fortunes around.
But he brings a wealth of experience and contacts to the task. He is vice chairman of the Asian Racing Federation, whose members include 20 of the sport’s governing bodies in the region. He is also vice chairman of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities.
His tenure with the HKJC goes back to 1998, when he was named director of Racing. In 2000, he was promoted to executive director, Racing, the post Mr Nader has held since 2007. Prior to joining the HKJC he served six years as CEO of the governing body of German horseracing and breeding.
43 Stephen Hung
CO-Chairman and Executive Director
Louis XIII Holdings
A lot can happen in three years—and in Macau, obviously, a lot has—and the market that will be greeting the opening of Stephen Hung’s Louis XIII sometime next summer will be a decidedly different place than what the Hong Kong financier envisioned when plans for the super-high-end resort were announced back in 2012.
Of course, a lot can happen between now and then as well. But absent a major policy reversal by the government of China under Communist Party boss Xi Jinping, whose nationwide campaign to root out corruption, graft and illicit capital flows has scared off wealthy mainland gamblers en masse, Louis XIII could be hardpressed to find the requisite stream of mainland VIPs willing to risk the very conspicuous consumption demanded by its luxurious suites and villas—the most opulent of which, at 20,000 square feet, is promoted at HK$1 million a night—and its invitation-only ateliers and baccarat tables billed as starting at HK$10,000 a hand.
And yet, conceptually, Mr Hung’s vision of Louis XIII as a “lifestyle experience” for the “world’s wealthiest” is unlike anything Macau has ever sought to offer. On the basis of the boutique scale of it alone—238 suites, an intimate gaming offering comprised of a mere 66 tables—the property will be unique among the big box resortxs going up around it on Cotai.
Through his Hong Kong-listed Louis XIII Holdings the former investment banker has secured the US$1 billion-plus to build it to a standard that ensures there’ll be no scrimping on extravagance. Senior management is in place, with Macau gaming veteran Walt Power as CEO and a roster that includes executives from Banyan Tree, Lan Kwai Fong Group, Keppel Land, Melco Crown Entertainment and The Venetian Macao. Heading interior and exterior design is acclaimed New York architect Peter Marino, who’s designed flagship stores for Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Loewe and Christian Dior. Renderings show a swirling tower of red leaves encircling glass and crowned with a 20-meter “diamond”. Once inside, guests will be regaled with exclusives that include an outlet by famed jewelry merchants Graff and the only Michelin three-star L’Ambroisie restaurant outside Paris and face time with Mr Hung’s “special advisor” Tania de Bourbon Parme, “Her Royal Highness,” as she’s styled on the Web site, reputedly a direct descendant of the last kings of France.
As for the all-important gaming license, there has been no word on that to date. But Mr Hung has a casino operating agreement dating back to 2008 with an unnamed “concession or subconcession,” believed to be Melco Crown. His casino connections also extend to SJM. He’s vice chairman of Rio Entertainment Group, operator of the Rio Hotel & Casino, a sub-licensee of SJM’s on the Macau peninsula.
44 Mark Brown
President and CEO
Best Sunshine International
When Mark Brown walks into a room, the theme from Mission: Impossible might be appropriate. Before Mr Brown became Best Sunshine International’s president and CEO in November, it had already announced plans to invest $7.1 billion on Saipan, the largest island in the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands, a US Pacific territory with a population of 57,000 that’s a five-hour flight from the Asian mainland and registered fewer than 500,000 visitors last year. After serving as president and CEO of Trump Entertainment Resorts in Atlantic City, president of Sands China and a stint with NagaCorp to get its Russia project on track, Mr Brown may be facing his biggest challenge.
Best Sunshine is part of Hong Kong-listed Imperial Pacific Holdings, previously First Natural Foods. Two years ago, it was taken over by investors in Macau junket promoter Hengsheng. Associates of the new ownership hosted legislators from CNMI who helped get a casino legalization bill for Saipan passed in March, as the government pleaded the upfront license payments were desperately needed to fund retiree pensions. Casino legalization had failed in the past, and Saipan voters had twice rejected it in referendums. CNMI’s smaller islands of Tinian and Rota had already legalized casinos and issued licenses. Tinian Dynasty struggled from its 1998 opening and a casino on Rota closed within weeks.
Saipan set the bar high for casino license applicants, demanding a $2 billion investment for a 2,000-room integrated resort. The only takers were Best Sunshine and another Hong Kong investor in the process of buying Tinian Dynasty. In a heated public campaign, Best Sunshine promised to invest more than the requirement as well as make payments to a community fund for distribution to Saipan citizens. At the start, it all seemed like a good idea: Macau was booming, CNMI had little regulatory capacity and the sovereign US seemed oblivious. Since then, Macau revenue has kept falling and US authorities raided Tinian Dynasty over suspected money laundering, beating back a legal challenge to their authority to regulate CNMI gaming to exact $78 million in fines and forfeitures for money laundering.
Still, after Best Sunshine won, it said it would invest $3.14 billion, and then in September, it issued a $7.1 billion development plan in five phases with a total of 4,252 rooms, 300 villas, 1,600 tables and 3,500 machines. The first phase is a “town hotel” apart from the IR, to open next year with 50 rooms, 300 tables and 500 machines.
That’s where Mr Brown came in. In April, Best Sunshine signed a lease for public land to complete a 59,000-square-meter (635,000 square foot) site for the town hotel, and began construction on 15th July, with completion expected in 16 months. More immediately, Best Sunshine got the authorities to approve a “training facility” for its casino employees. The $25 million project wouldn’t be a conventional school but a working casino that opened in late July in a shopping mall catering to tourists. With just a fraction of its planned 44 tables and 106 machines, the casino reportedly raked in $500,000 in its first two days of operations.
Best Sunshine says it’s seeking a site for that $6 billion-plus resort that few expect to ever get built. Then again, we all know how Mission: Impossible episodes turn out.
45 Steven Tight
President International Development
Caesars Entertainment finally got a gaming license in Asia, largely thanks to the persistence of Steven Tight, its president for international development. Now Mr Tight must get Caesars’ Asian flagship in South Korea right while looking for more licenses as Caesars struggles through a contentious $22.6 billion bankruptcy.
“The restructuring of Caesars’ operating subsidiary has not impacted our ability to pursue our project in Korea or other opportunities in the region,” Mr Tight, whose project development resume includes serving as Hong Kong Disneyland’s first managing director, says. “We are committed to expanding Caesars’ presence into Asia and to evaluate new opportunities throughout the region.”
Caesars is playing catch-up. Harrah’s, which bought Caesars in 2005 and took its name, missed the boat in Macau twice. It passed on the initial license offer in 2001, then refused to match Melco Crown’s $900 million for Wynn Resorts’ subconcession in 2006. “A big mistake,” Caesars Chairman Gary Loveman, who stepped down as CEO on 30th June, concedes. Back in 2002, the Caesars chunk of the future company was recommended for a gaming license by September 2015 inside asian gaming 53 consultant Arthur Andersen, but Macau’s Tender Committee overrode the suggestion. In Singapore, Harrah’s lost to LVS for Marina Bay and dropped out of the contest for Sentosa as it digested Caesars.
Caesars almost lost in South Korea, too. The government first rejected its application in partnership with Indonesia’s Lippo Group conglomerate and its Singapore property affiliate OUE. No reasons were given publicly, but the partnership shored up its capital structure and last year won approval. The IR location is Incheon, 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of South Korean capital Seoul, on Yeongjong Island, a free economic zone that’s home to the country’s gateway airport, where Korean casino operator Paradise is building an IR with Japanese gaming machine maker Sega Sammy. Caesars helped set the trend here: a request for concepts for two additional casino licenses reportedly received 34 applications, and Korean authorities have designated seven Incheon sites among nine for the final stage.
Caesars and partners have agreed to invest at least $800 million to build 500 hotel rooms, a shopping mall, convention center and entertainment venues alongside a casino with about 100 tables and 150 machines. Mr Tight, who helped Caesars build its Asia war chest by selling its Macau golf course for $438 million, says test pilings have been completed on the site, with an official groundbreaking early next year, and opening scheduled for 2018.
All new casinos will be for foreigners only, making Korea a play on tourists from China. Northern cities Beijing and Shanghai are closer to Korea than to Macau, and Chinese tourism to Korea has been booming, reaching 6.1 million last year and expected to grow at 15% annually, notwithstanding this year’s MERS outbreak.
Last September, Caesars proposed a $1 billion IR adjacent to Manila’s airport, including a private air terminal. Gaming regulator Pagcor, which has licensed four IRs for its Entertainment City complex, the last due to open in 2019, wants to let the market absorb those projects before adding new capacity. Mr Tight says Caesars still views the Philippines as “an attractive gaming destination.” Same with Japan, where Caesars says it’s ready to invest $5 billion whenever Japan is. As shown in Korea, Mr Tight plans to persist on all fronts.
46 Albert Yeung
Gaming revenue at the 307-room Grand Emperor Hotel on the Macau peninsula fell 15.6% in the financial year ending 31st March to HK$1.73 billion (US$223 million), against the backdrop of what the operating company—Hong Kong-listed Emperor Entertainment Hotel—called “a challenging market environment overshadowed by economic and regulatory concerns.”
The Grand Emperor opened in 2006 in downtown Macau and features actors at the front doors arrayed in the red tunics and bearskin hats of Britain’s famed Coldstream Guards and real gold bars recessed in the lobby floor—seemingly kitschy features that nevertheless delight mainland Chinese visitors in search of snapshots.
Gaming accounted for 85% of Emperor Entertainment Hotel’s total revenue in the last financial year, generated across 67 mainfloor gaming tables, 10 VIP tables and 200 electronic gaming machines.
Emperor Entertainment Hotel said its profit for the 12 months ended 31st March fell 16% to HK$504 million from HK$600 million a year earlier. Emperor Entertainment Hotel is a subsidiary of Emperor Group, founded by Hong Kong entertainment-industry impresario Albert Yeung, whose close friend and movie star Jackie Chan not only attended the Grand Emperor’s opening, but is also a minority shareholder in the venture.
From the humble beginnings of a single watch shop, Mr Yeung has built a diversified empire with holdings in entertainment, property and finance and has accumulated a net worth of US$1.1 billion, according to Forbes magazine. Prior to building his own casino hotel in Macau, the 72-year-old entrepreneur had held interests in two VIP rooms at Casino Lisboa, the erstwhile flagship property of Macau gaming tycoon and Mr Yeung’s friend Stanley Ho.
Mr Ho has said of Mr Yeung, “No difficulties can baffle him, nor are there any hurdles he cannot overcome.”
The compliment perhaps stems partly from gratitude for the profits Mr Ho derived from his Do Son casino in Vietnam, made possible by a casino license Mr Yeung had sold him. According to Albert Yeung’s official biography, published in 2012, Mr Yeung had acquired the license in 1993 but chose not to pursue it after being told “It’s not time yet” by a long-trusted feng shui master, leading him to hawk it immediately to Mr Ho. Do Son went on to record a decade of profits but has since slipped into the red.
The time for Mr Yeung to develop his own casino came in 1995, after he joined a delegation of Hong Kong business people visiting North Korea at a time when Pyongyang was seeking to develop its Rason economic zone bordering China and Russia. The Emperor Resort & Casino in Rason opened in 1999 and mostly serves Chinese players making the hour’s drive across the border.
Mr Yeung has been dogged by controversy, too, including allegations of involvement in organized crime and graft, which he has repeatedly denied.
Mr Yeung is reported to have close ties with some of Beijing’s top officials and Hong Kong’s property tycoons. As he said in his biography: “Li Ka Shing, Cheng Yu Tung and [Stanley] Ho Hung Sun all attach great importance to our friendship. This proves that I am not really bad.”
47 Constance Hsu
Beyond City of Dreams, Melco Crown Entertainment’s other operations in Macau—the VIP-centric Altira Macau and the Mocha Clubs chain of slot parlors—are in decline. But that’s down more to marketplace dynamics than the abilities of Constance Hsu, who was appointed to head the former in December, after having led the latter since 2008.
Net revenue at Altira Macau was US$181.6 million in Q2 2014, down 35% from the year-ago quarter. The property suffers from an isolated location on Taipa, occupying a no-man’s-land of sorts between the peninsula gaming hub consisting of MGM Macau, StarWorld, Wynn Macau and Grand Lisboa, and the Cotai resort district where The Venetian, Galaxy Macau and City of Dreams lie. Altira has been particularly hard-hit by the citywide slowdown in VIP gaming revenue, and its second-quarter performance was also adversely affected by bad luck, with a VIP rolling chip win rate of 2.7% versus 3% in Q2 2013. Rolling chip volume was $8.3 billion in the second quarter, down 30% year on year. For a property with little main-floor appeal, mass-market drop was, however, up 14% year on year in Q2, benefiting from rising visitation to Macau.
Over at Mocha Clubs, meanwhile, net revenue was $36.5 million in the second quarter, down 2% year on year. That’s a creditable performance, though, considering the number of gaming machines in operation across Mocha Clubs’ venues averaged approximately 1,200 in the quarter compared to around 2,000 in the comparable year-ago period, and implies a soaring net win per machine per day of $331 versus $207 in Q2 2013.
Mocha Clubs has had to scale back in line with government regulations forcing slot parlors out of residential neighborhoods. The fact that the chain of coffee shop-style slot parlors has registered only a 2% decline in revenue after losing one-third of its machine count and in the face of intensifying competition from the slot floors of the city’s glitzy casinos is a testament to the yeoman job Ms Hsu did in positioning the operation to compete in a rapidly developing market prior to her departure in December.
Ms Hsu had been with Mocha since it began in 2003, starting out as a financial controller and rising through management ranks quickly to become chief administrative officer. There, she oversaw finance, treasury, audit, legal compliance, procurement and human resources. In 2008, she was named president of Mocha, becoming one of only a handful of women to rise to the executive ranks in Macau’s gaming industry.
It’s early days for Ms Hsu at Altira, and market dynamics are working against her, with the property set to become even more locationally disadvantaged as the second wave of megaresorts begins to open on Cotai come next year. Still, her new job is clearly a vote of confidence from Melco Crown in her track record of instilling in an operation the necessary focus on customer service and familiarity with local preferences to stand firm in the face of adversity.
48 Tony Fung
Founder and Chairman
Aquis Reef Holdings
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission lastmonth gave the green light to the purchase of the Reef Hotel Casino in Cairns by Hong Kong billionaire Tony Fung’s Aquis Reef Holdings. The anti-trust regulator had previously expressed concern over the deal—announced in February—given Aquis is separately seeking approval to build a A$8.15 billion resort nearby at the Great Barrier Reef, but concluded that there would be limited crossover between the two operations because the latter would focus on attracting overseas VIP customers while the existing casino caters mainly to local residents and domestic tourists making relatively low-stakes bets.
Mr Fung envisions Reef as a staging ground for Aquis to learn the market and generate cash flow as it seeks financing for the Barrier Reef super-resort, which would represent the largest tourism investment ever in Australia.
If it goes forward as planned, 340 hectares of tropical farmland in Yorkeys Knob, a sleepy beachfront hamlet 13 kilometers north of Cairns, will be transformed with eight hotels containing 7,500 hotel rooms—nearly twice the rooms now available in Queensland’s entire tropical north—two theaters, convention space, luxury residences, retail shopping, a cultural center, an aquarium, a golf course and a sports stadium, plus a casino with 750 table games and 1,500 gaming machines, the whole to be completed in two stages over 10 years around an artificial lake and reef lagoon. The $4.3 billion first phase, scheduled to open in 2018, would include 4,000 hotel rooms.
The Queensland government, intent on attracting wealthy Chinese gamblers to the state, has promised Aquis a casino license pending environmental, planning and other approvals. Queensland attracted 297,000 Chinese visitors last year, including 259,000 holiday-makers, usually bigger spenders, and garnered $604 million of Australia’s $3.55 billion in Chinese visitor expenditures. A Queensland tourism report projects that total expenditure by overnight visitors in the state will grow from $21.5 billion in 2012 to $30 billion in 2020. Nationally, Chinese visitors are expected to account for one-third of expenditure growth. For Queensland that math indicates $2.85 billion in additional Chinese visitor spending.
Tony Fung has 15 years of Queensland investment experience under his belt and holdings that include shopping malls and residential and commercial property in Australia, China and the United States. The 62-year-old scion of one of Hong Kong’s bestknown real estate and financial services families is a savvy dealmaker credited with building the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. To him, Aquis holds obvious appeal to Chinese travelers seeking a punt overseas. “I think it will be an easy sell for us,” he says. “You see, if you go to Macau your colleagues think you are a gambler. If you go to Singapore they think you are a gambler. But if you say you are going to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef, then you are still a family man.”
49 Yang Zhihui
Yang Zhihui couldn’t be more plain: “Landing International aims to establish its own branding and presence in the gaming industry,” the Landing chairman and controlling shareholder declares. That’s why Landing bought out Genting Hong Kong in July to take full control of the casino at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Jeju, South Korea’s most popular tourist destination. Separately, Genting Singapore and Landing are partners in the development of the $1.8 billion Resorts World Jeju, which broke ground in February and is expected to open in phases from 2017.
It hasn’t been a smooth glide path for Landing and Genting in Korea, but 44-year-old Mr Yang is committed. “We are fully confident in the long-term growth of tourism in Jeju, and will seize every opportunity in the market and bring satisfactory return to our shareholders,” he says in Landing’s Hong Kong stock market filing detailing the buyout. Unlike the rest of South Korea, Jeju allows visa-free access for mainland Chinese, attracting 2.9 million Chinese visitors last year, up 58% from 2013. Jeju also offers permanent residency to foreigners who purchase property for KW500 million ($421,000).
Mr Yang, who made his fortune as a property developer and investor in central China’s Anhui and Hubei provinces, was smitten with Jeju after a 2002 vacation there. In 2013, Landing won the bid over several Korean chaebols for a 260-hectare (642 acre) development site on the southwest end of the island known as Korea’s Hawaii. Mr Yang backdoor listed Landing on the Hong Kong stock exchange and began looking for a casino partner for the project. Genting Singapore joined in early 2014. Jeju’s largest tourism project, Resorts World Jeju will include 2,000 hotel rooms, a theme park, residences and retail along with a casino.
The IR seemed to be in jeopardy last year when Jeju Governor Won Hee-Ryong, elected that June, ordered a review of several large projects in the autonomous region, including Resorts World Jeju. The property’s groundbreaking was postponed twice. Amid the uncertainty, in November, Landing and Genting Hong Kong each invested $117 million to purchase the foreigners-only casino at Jeju’s Hyatt Regency. It was both a show of good faith to underscore their interest in Jeju and a hedge against the new administration’s reluctance; the casino’s gaming license could be transferred to the IR.
The casino was immediately closed for renovation and reopened 18th January as Genting Jeju with 33 tables and 30 machines. A month later, the groundbreaking for Resorts World Jeju took place, with Governor Won in attendance—signifying the government’s endorsement of the project, which is now moving forward.
Resorts World Jeju provides the means to fulfil Landing’s ambition of becoming a full-fledged casino operator. Earlier this year, Landing failed to close a $112 million deal for Alpensia casino in Pyeonchang, located at a resort that will be a venue for the 2018 Winter Olympics. So Landing paid back Getting HK’s original $117 million investment to own all of Genting Jeju, which Landing will have to rebrand.
The casino has gotten off to good start under new management with reported first half gaming revenue of HK$371.8 million (US$47.9 million), a 16-fold increase over the previous year, and HK$48.9 million in after-tax profits. Genting personnel operating the casino will leave before the end of the year, and we’ll see then whether Mr Yang and Landing keep up their good work.
50 Jaydev Mody
Jaydev Mody, the 60-year-old chairman of India’s most prominent casino operator, Delta Corp., estimates the country’s casino market at around 500 crore rupees a year ($75 million). It’s a pittance compared to Asia’s other casino markets, but Mr Mody points out it’s just a fraction of India’s gambling market, most of which is illegal.
Betting on cricket, while illegal, amounts to about 5,000 crore rupees per game, estimates Mr Mody. Illegal lotteries, known as matka, generate another 500 crore rupees a day across the country, he adds. “So, our thing is a drop in the ocean,” says Mr Mody, who has a passion for horse racing and owns 70 horses. Mumbai’s racing market is worth Rs 170 crore rupees annually, he says, while racing across India is likely worth 1,000 crore rupees.
Delta’s “thing” is the operation of three of the four casino-cruise ships licensed to operate in Goa, which, along with Sikkim, is one of two Indian states that permit casinos—and only offshore casinos in Goa can offer live-table gaming, with casinos at onshore hotels only offering machine games. Casinos were also recently legalized in the Union Territory of Daman, where Delta has built a property that’s set to become the country’s first full-fledged casino resort.
A longtime gambler, Mr Mody, who had previously spent most of his career in real estate, became chairman of Mumbai-based and -traded Delta in 2008. Delta is currently operating two floating casinos in Goa, the Deltin Royale, with 850 live gaming positions, and Deltin Jakq, with 400 positions. A third vessel, the Deltin Caravela, is awaiting approvals. Delta also owns Goa’s Deltin Empress, a luxury floating hotel, and two luxury hotels in the capital of Panaji, the Deltin Suites and the boutique Deltin Palms.
The Deltin Daman hotel, with 176 rooms and 60,000 square feet of gaming space, opened last year and has received its fivestar certification, though it is still awaiting its gaming license. If, as hoped, the license is awarded soon, Delta’s Daman property will become India’s largest casino. Delta is also said to be seeking a second site for gaming operations in Daman