Lawrence HoLawrence Ho, the son of Macau gambling magnate, Stanley Ho is expanding his own casino empire. He is investing a reported 630 million dollars in two casino resorts in Russia. However the first phase of his Russian casino has been delayed and is now not likely to open until April of next year. The casino had been due to open towards the end of this year.

Primorye Gambling Zone

Russia has four areas where gambling is permitted, it is illegal outside of these regions. It has been reported that there is to be a fifth gambling zone developed in the Crimean region which was recently annexed by the Russian government. The area’s governor hopes to have plans for the new gambling zone ready by the end of 2014 and to be able to put them into practice by 2015. Lawrence Ho’s casino is to open in the Primorye integrated entertainment zone which of the four existing zones is the one that so far has brought in most foreign casino investors. The Primorye area on the Pacific coast is near Russia’s border with China. Given its geographical position, the new casino resort would attract clients from both Russia and China and as the Ho family know from their extremely successful casinos in Macau, Chinese players contribute greatly to a region’s gambling industry. The casino resort may also bring in clients from Japan and South Korea.

Expansion by Lawrence Ho

Lawrence Ho’s companies along with their partners are developing casino resorts both in Macau and in other parts of Asia including Russia. Melco Crown Entertainment which he owns with the Australian businessman, James Packer is constructing a casino resort in the Philippines and in Macau he is building a casino on the Cotai Strip. The company’s Russian casino resort, reported to cost 110 million dollars will have a 110 room hotel and the casino is believed to have about 800 gaming machines, 60 casino tables with all the traditional games (blackjack, baccarat, roulette) and 15 VIP gaming tables in the first phase with a further about 600 slot machines and 100 VIP gaming tables to be provided in the second phase.

Now however, the first phase won’t be operational until early 2015. Reasons given for the delay are the fact that some design changes will require permission from the local authorities. It is also thought that there may be problems with bringing in a certain amount of foreign workers and also building materials.