Integrated resort venture for Suncity

by Mia Chapman Last Updated
Suncity to develop its own hotel brand

Suncity Group Holdings has released a statement indicating that construction of the Hoiana integrated resort is moving forward nicely and added that everything is on schedule for the venue to open in the first quarter of 2020.

Calvin Ayre reports the company’s assistant vice president of marketing communications James Wong was optimistic in talking to Inside Asian Gaming, stating that the final preparations for the completion of the first phase are moving along quickly.

Hoiana is being built through an agreement between Suncity, VinaCapital Group out of Vietnam and VMS Investment Group.

Suncity has been primarily a junket operator, but has been transitioning into direct casino operations in recent times and this project is one of the primary examples of that transformation.

Mr Wong told IAG that even before the completion of the first phase of the integrated resort, its Hoiana Shores golf course will be open.

It is expected to see customers tee off before the end of the year, as a three-month soft launch that began in September come to an end.

As for the rest of phase one, he said, “We are looking at the first quarter, most likely late February or March.”

Additional phases and completion of the entire venue will take several more years.

Suncity has been working toward making an entrance into gaming operations for a couple of years.

Mr Wong explained to IAG: “We have been getting experience for the last 12 or 13 years in providing high level service, so we’ve got the skill, we’ve got the database, we’ve got all the software, which makes us ready to be an operator.”

“Now we are testing the hardware. Obviously one of the main reasons is that when we have our own hardcore, we have better control to entertain our guests and provide a more unique experience,” he said.

Hoiana isn’t the only casino operation the company is currently moving forward.

It is also involved in the Tigre de Cristal integrated resort in Russia, thanks to the purchase of shares in the venue’s owner and operator, Summit Ascent Holdings.

Initially, Suncity purchased a 29.68 per cent stake, but that amount was reduced to 24.74 per cent when Summit issued new shares to investors.

Suncity also has another casino venue coming, this one in the Philippines.

It just acquired a Philippines-listed company, Suntrust Home Developers, and signed an agreement with Travellers International Hotel Group that paves the way for the company to develop and operate a hotel and casino at Travellers’ Westside City Resorts world in Manila.

That property is expected to open in 2022.

New casino in booming Filipino market

The surge of gaming in the Philippines has shown no signs of letting up, with the Subic Bay Yacht Club, located in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone on the western coastline holding a soft opening for its new boutique casino recently.

Asgam reported last month that the casino forms a central feature of the newly renovated Yacht Club which, at a cost of US$10 million, is targeting Asia’s growing yachting and boating community.

“Subic is a safe haven in the boating world, and we have mega yachts coming in on a weekly and monthly basis to use Subic Bay as their base,” chief executive officer and president of Volare Grandezza, Manual Antonio Sequeira – one of the partner firms in the property’s casino operations said.

“We have everything from Russian mega-yachts measuring 200 metres and above to mega-ships coming in from China – the smallest being 3,800 people and the biggest 5,200 guests, which is a huge market.

“So we saw an opportunity that this Yacht Club would be a great base to host a casino. We are positioning ourselves very much as a boutique casino, and we are only the second yacht club in the world to have a casino after Hobart.”

The new casino offers impressive views of the serenity of Subic Bay and opened last Monday with eight tables and 169 slot machines, but expects to grow to 43 gaming tables in operation by December, including roulette, pai gow, baccarat, blackjack and pontoon.

In-house junket operations will launch in 20202, and there are also plans to work with international junket operators across Asia.

One of only two casinos in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Subic Bay Yacht Club enjoys the same tax benefits as the nearby Clark Freeport Zone and sees itself as a unique alternative to the growing casino industry in Clark, whose primary target market is Koreans looking for a golfing getaway.

Subic offers three golf courses of its own and is just 45 minutes from Clark by car, but also sees its waterside location as a competitive advantage.

“The growing market in Asia of people boating and yachting will bring people here,” Mr Sequeira said.

“The fishing here is fantastic and just 20 minutes out by boat we have coves which you will drool over with pristine sands, unreachable by road, a two kilometre beach with nobody else around and clear, clean water. It is something we can produce that nobody else can.”

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