MelcoLot shapes bets on casino in Georgia

Casino brand will obtain a gaming license in about two months., 18 Mar 2015 - 15:42, Tbilisi,Georgia

Hong Kong-listed company MelkoLot Ltd is coordinating investments for a new casino project in Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital.

A company controlled by Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd is in the process of obtaining a gaming license for Tbilisi under a wholly owned subsidiary, called Express Wealth Enterprise Ltd. The Express Wealth entity is what’s known to investors as a special purpose vehicle or ‘SPV’.

Georgia’s Deputy Minister of Economy Ketevan Bochorishvili said the casino will obtain its license in about two months and then, the company will officially announce details of its expansion.

Bochorishvili said she was happy to see many large companies still wanted to invest in Georgia, despite the tense situation in the neighboring countries, which generally affected the Georgian economy.

Meanwhile the new casino will open in the new Millennium Biltmore Hotel complex, which is located on Tabukashvili St next to Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel.

Construction of the Millennium Biltmore Hotel is underway. The hotel facility and the MelkoLot casino is expected to open in January 2016. Dhabi Group, company which is responsible for building the new hotel, invested $140 million USD in the Millennium Biltmore construction.

In the latest deal to be announced, MelcoLot Ltd will sell part of a wholly owned subsidiary to Taiwanese and local Georgian investors to raise $50 million USD for the casino project in Georgia.

As the website and newsletter about the Asian sector of the casino industry GGRAsia reported, MelcoLot will sell 5,530 new shares of Express Wealth to Firich, which in turn will allocate them to two other Taiwanese firms – Taiwan-listed Rich Development Co Ltd and Taiwan-incorporated Syncmold Enterprise Corp.

MelcoLot will also sell 200 new shares to Oz Gaming Georgia LLC, a food and beverage and entertainment firm in Georgia that has been working with the Government to develop gaming regulation.

GGRAsia reported, a filing from Melco International said: "MelcoLot will be responsible for the management and operations of SPV, as well as maintaining relations with… government officials in Georgia.”

Upon completion of the deal, Express Wealth shares will be divided between a number of parties, where 42.7 percent will be held by MelcoLot, 31.62 percent by Firich, 15.35 percent by Rich Development, 8.33 percent by Syncmold and 2 percent by Oz Gaming.

MelcoLot is also being used as a vehicle to bid for a casino license in a real estate development called BCN World in Barcelona, Spain.

Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd operates, owns, and develops casino gaming and entertainment resort facilities. It is focused exclusively on the Macau (China) market. The company has been listed on the NASDAQ stock market since December 2006.