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NagaCorp sees casino floor revenues return to pre-lockdown levels

| By Richard Mulligan
Asian casino operator NagaCorp, the operator of Cambodia’s Nagaworld resort, has seen casino floor revenue almost return to pre-lockdown levels.
NagaWorld resort

The Hong Kong-listed group, in a voluntary filing, said daily net gaming revenue in August and September at its flagship property was at $1.7m, which is 91% of the $1.8m registered prior to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak in Q1 2020.

The resort was closed from April to July due to restrictions relating to the pandemic.

Public floor tables, VIP and electronic gaming machines (EGM) at the venue – the only casino in Cambodia’s capital city, Phnom Penh – were all at between 88% and 94% of pre-lockdown levels.

EGM average daily volumes actually slightly increased at $5.5m, while public floor tables buy-ins of $3.5m were at 93% of pre-lockdown levels. The crucial VIP rollings volume vertical was down considerably, however, falling 29% from $106.5m to $76.6m per day, in the main due to restrictions on overseas travel from markets such as China.

In unaudited results – published to provide a business update to shareholders and potential investors – NagaCorp said gross gaming revenue for the first nine months of the year was at $609.9m, with net gaming revenue at $293.8m. In comparison, gross gaming revenue for the first six months of 2019 was at $872.4m, with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) at $327.8m.

Responding to the disappointing VIP volume numbers, the group said it is hastening its switch of focus to mass market clientele.

“Since the reopening of casino businesses on 8 July 2020 until 30 September 2020, NagaCorp and its subsidiaries have recorded a relatively good recovery and sustenance of average daily gaming business volumes and average daily net gaming revenues contributed mainly by the patronage of expatriates,” the group said.

“For many years, the group has been promoting the growth of the mass market as a more stable gaming segment. It was observed that during 3Q2020, business volume recovery of the mass market segment is leading, registering a recovery percentage of about 97%.”

Meanwhile, NagaCorp has welcomed Cambodia’s draft law on the management of commercial gambling, which was passed by the country’s parliament earlier this week. The bill is designed to regulate operations at casinos and other gaming facilities in the country, with minimum capital requirement for investment in a casino project, and measures designed to combat money laundering.

NagaCorp said in a filing that the promulgation of the gaming law “shall strengthen the gaming regulatory environment and improve the confidence of promoting investment and tourism in the country.”

NagaWorld has 384 gaming tables, 2,250 electronic gaming machines in operation and a 700-room hotel.

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