Hong Kong’s International Entertainment Corp (IEC) reported a 22.6% increase in revenue to HK$363.3 million and a profit of HK$17.7 million, improved from a loss of HK$67.3 million, for the 12 months to 31 March 2019, buoyed by the purchase of English football side Wigan and the hosting of its first live poker event in Korea.
IEC, which owns the New World Manila Bay Hotel and Casino in Manila which it leases to PAGCOR for gaming operations, was purchased by businessman and high stakes poker player Stanley Choi in February 2017 and has since embarked on a mission to diversify its revenue streams.
That included the purchase of Wigan Athletic Football Club in November 2018 and of Rational Live Events Macau Limited, the company previously responsible for running live poker events in Macau under the PokerStars brand. IEC also has an agreement with the former owner of Rational Live Events, The Stars Group, to run live poker events under the PokerStars name across most of Asia.
In its 2019 earnings release, IEC said it derived HK$187.3 million from the leasing of properties to PAGCOR, roughly the same as 12 months earlier, comprising 51.5% of group revenue. Rental revenue is calculated as a percentage of PAGCOR’s gaming income.
Revenue from operations of the hotel in which the casino is located, including room revenue, F&B and hotel services, grew 6% to HK$114.8 million.
For the first time Wigan Athletic Football Club contributed revenue of HK$57.4 million, comprising 15.8% of total revenue, while the first poker event since acquiring operating rights under the PokerStars brand, held at Paradise City in Incheon in December, raised revenue of HK$3.9 million.
Discussing its plans for poker, IEC said, “Considering poker games are thriving in Asia, the group signed the cooperation agreement with the world’s largest poker group, The Stars Group, in May 2018 and the event in South Korea was completed in December 2018. The group will continue to operate more poker events in certain Asian countries in the coming year.”