Casino operator could have found financial saviour

By Mia Chapman Updated
Casino operator could have found financial saviour

A struggling casino operator may have found a financial white knight to save it from its monetary woes.

Calvin Ayre reports Nepal casino operator Silver Heritage Group may receive assistance from an offshoot of Philippines-based gaming technology outfit DFNN.

Silver Heritage informed the Australian Stock Exchange that the financially flailing operator’s appointed administrators had recommended accepting a recapitalisation proposal put forward by HatchAsia, an affiliate of Philippine-listed DFNN, which among other things, supplies gambling technology to that country’s eGames outlets.

The deal, which Silver Heritage shareholders must still approve, remains something of a work in progress but would reportedly see HatchAsia pay around A$530,000 in cash plus three per cent of shares in a new Australia-listed subsidiary in exchange for 92 per cent of Silver Heritage’s issued shares.

DFNN holds a 19 per cent stake in HatchAsia and DFNN chief executive Calvin Lim said his group would “welcome and look forward to the foray of HatchAsia in the international market.”

The deal would give DFNN a backdoor into Australia’s capital markets, something Lim believes would allow DFNN to “fully value its early investments in HatchAsia.”

Silver Heritage, which operates two casinos in Nepal, including the country’s only integrated resort Tiger Palace Resort Bhairahawa, entered voluntary administration in May after its Nepal operations were forced to shut down due to COVID-19.

The company had been struggling for some time though, making the pandemic simply the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Silver Heritage formerly operated the Phoenix International Club in Vietnam but that closed in early 2019 when its local partner failed to renew the venue’s gaming licence.

Phoenix provided 45 per cent of the company’s 2018 revenue and Tiger Palace’s early stumbles left it unable to fill that revenue gap.

Nepal has several other casino operators, although none of them have attempted to operate on the Tiger Palace’s scale.

The country most recently welcomed its latest casino at the Marriott Hotel in Kathmandu, country of India’s largest casino operator Delta Corp.

Delta Corp makes mark in Nepal

India’s largest casino operator has been granted a gaming licence in Nepal.

Inkedin reported in January that Delta Corp finally secured the gaming licence after first sticking a casino management deal in the country more than two years ago.

Delta Corp reported last Thursday that it has issued a licence for its Deltin Group subsidiary to run a casino in Nepal.

The announcement follows the company’s announcement in October 2017 that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Everest Hospitality and Hotel Pvt Ltd to lease space at the Marriott Hotel being built in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital.

At that time, Delta Corp proposed opening the 5-star, 235-room Marriott Kathmandu by June 2018.

The property did not start accepting guests until more than a year after that date, in July 2019.

Delta’s recent announcement avoided specifics about when it might actually launch its new casino, saying only that it expects to “soon” start gaming operations at the new hotel.

Delta is India’s only publicly traded casino operator and by far the largest in the country.

Delta runs three floating casinos and one land based location on Goa, one casino in Sikkim state and one hotel in Daman union territory.

The latter operation waited for approval to open a casino for years, without any sign of the arrival of that wonderful day.

Delta also runs an online poker and rummy business, small but growing.

India is the primary customer source for the small number of casinos in Nepal, which remain off-limits for local residents.

Full-scale casinos (slots and tables) are allowed in five-star casinos, while electronic gaming operations are limited to four-star venues.

The government of Nepal will welcome the opening of the Delta Casino, as it has pledged to boost international tourism through its Visit Nepal 2020 initiative.

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