Summit Ascent Holdings has revealed plans to adopt a direct VIP model at its Russian casino resort, Tigre de Cristal in Vladivostok, rather than rely on its controlling shareholder Suncity Group to provide players.
According to a research note from investment bank Goldman Sachs, details of Summit Ascent’s Russian vision were revealed during a corporate day last week, including its intention to extend credit directly to its own players using Suncity’s database.
Suncity Group owns 69.66% of Summit Ascent which in turn holds a 77.5% interest in Tigre de Cristal’s operating entity, Oriental Regent Ltd.
“While this would allow the company to preserve more profit without having to pay junket commission, it would also mean Summit Ascent has to bear credit risk on its own,” Goldman Sachs said in its note. “Management believes it is manageable given its limited VIP exposure initially. Overall, they believe US$200 million EBITDA is achievable in the longer run.”
It was also revealed that Tigre de Cristal has enjoyed a rapid recovery in recent months and printed positive EBITDA for the six months to 31 December 2020, versus a US$3 million EBITDA loss in 1H20.
Once borders reopen, the property will focus its energies on players from South Korea, China and Japan with Korea seen as a significant opportunity.
“[Suncity] management believes Koreans’ gaming demand is underserved and targets to growing its customer base there, as a way to diversify its exposure from Chinese gamblers,” it said.
“For instance, despite a one-single property 5-hour drive away from the city of Seoul, Kangwon Land contributes over half of Korea’s gaming revenue.
“Given the proximity between Vladivostok and South Korea (~2-hour flight), they believe Tigre de Cristal should be able to capture such underserved Koreans’ gambling demand.”