$900 Million Diamond Fortune Casino Plans Sept. 2020 Opening
Diamond Fortune Holdings announced a $900 million development plan for a casino in the Primorye Krai gambling zone in the Russian Far East. Thomas Gibbons, the Diamond Fortune chief executive, announced plans for the casino’s grand opening in September 2020.
The first phase of Diamond Fortune Casino will involve two phases: a $220 million investment in Phase A and a $70 million project in Phase B. To accompany the grand opening, 25 luxury hotel rooms will be opened. Eventually, the remaining $150 million hotel will host 1,300 rooms.
Eventually, a second gaming facility called Moon Gate will open alongside the completed hotel space. Gibbons said he expects the Primorye Krai, which is near the Russian port of Vladivostok, to support “several casinos” if 2017’s double-digit levels of tourism growth continue.
Tigre de Cristal Casino
At the moment, the region has one operating casino: Tigre de Cristal. Tigre de Cristal opened in October 2015 under the watchful eye of Lawrence Ho, the owner of Melco Resorts & Entertainment. Last December, Ho sold Tigre de Cristal to a Taiwanese real estate development company which operates mainly in China.
A third operator currently is building a casino in Primorye: NagaCorp. The Cambodian company is building the NagaWorld Vladivostok casino and resort, which it hopes to open in the second half of 2019. NagaCorp also is building a railway link from Vladivostok to Northern China, to draw in vast numbers of Chinese mass market players.
Starting December 1, the Russian airline IrAero announced it would start making regular Moscow to Vladivostok flights — a 6,000 mile one-way trip which would give direct access to the Primorye region to millions in the Moscow metropolitan ara.
Gibbons Calls for Smoking Lounges
Thomas Gibbons said Diamond Fortune would prosper if the Russian Federation did a few things to accommodate casino operators. First on the agenda is to make Primorye casinos exempt from smoking bans. Giving customers a chance to smoke while the gamble would be a big draw, especially since Macau casinos now have a stricter ban even in the VIP lounges.
Gibbons discussed the idea of the smoking lounges which (theoretically) have existed in Macau for the past few years. The idea of such smoking lounges is to give gamblers a place to enjoy their habit without exposing employees to cigarette smoke.
About Diamond Fortune Holdings
Diamond Fortune Holdings is one of three former operators in Azov City in the Krasnodar Krai gambling zone in southwestern Russia. Azov City had three vibrant and successful casinos, but the Treasury Ministry shut them down over the past couple of years.
The process began as early as 2015, when the Russian government warned they would shut down Azov City’s casinos in the coming years. A further warning came in 2016. Only a month ago, the three casinos were told they would have to end operations on January 1, 2019. They were given encouragement to build resorts either in nearby Sochi or in the Russian Far East.
Diamond Fortune Casino thus is going to be owned and operated by a group that’s quite familiar with Russian gamblers. The business should be successful, at least if the casino is successful in drawing Russian high rollers and mass market players to the Far Eastern resorts.
Competition from NagaWorld
Tigre de Cristal and NagaCorp obviously will focus on the northeastern Chinese and South Korean gambling classes. While South Korea has several casinos on islands like Jeju, South Korea has strict laws against most of its residents gambling. Thus, a nearby casino enclave might well draw South Korean gamblers.
Of course, all of the Primorye Krai casinos eventually will have competition from Japan, which plans to develop 3 integrated casino-resorts by 2023. That should give the Russian Far East casinos several years head-start in building player loyalty and a database of customers.