Vincent Tan’s casino licence bid a long shot, say analysts

Cardiff ex-manager called Vincent Tan a ‘chink’ in text message, reports UK daily

Analysts and industry observers are sceptical about tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan’s chances of obtaining a casino licence, The Star reported today.

A gaming analyst told the daily that the possibility of Putrajaya issuing a new casino licence under the current environment was remote.

"The idea of having a second casino in Malaysia will be met by strong resistance from various groups.

"Putrajaya is most likely to bow to such pressure," the analyst said, recalling an incident in 2010 when the government withdrew a sports betting licence granted to Ascot Sports Sdn Bhd, a company jointly owned by Tan (pic) and his son, Datuk Robin Tan.

The New Straits Times had quoted Tan who said he wanted to revive his plans to operate a casino at the Berjaya Hills Resort in Pahang.

Tan had applied for a licence to operate a casino in Berjaya Hills more than 10 years ago but it was rejected amid protests from some quarters.

Berjaya Hills, just minutes from the country’s only casino in Genting Highlands, currently has a permit to operate slot machines.

Tan said he intended to invest RM3 billion initially in the casino to turn Berjaya Hillls into a world-class tourist destination.

The complex will include a gaming centre, indoor and outdoor theme parks, food outlets, a retail mall, hotels, a convention centre and holiday homes.

Tan told NST the casino would provide jobs for about 10,000 locals, adding that Malaysia should not stick with just one gaming operator.

Although Tan has resigned from Berjaya Corp Bhd (BCorp) in favour of his son Robin, he remains the single largest shareholder with a stake of 23.74%.

“A lot of politics are involved when it comes to issuing a casino licence; at this juncture, we remain skeptical of Tan's ability to secure a new casino licence,” another analyst said.

“But if Tan can indeed secure a licence to operate a casino at Berjaya Hills, that will pose a threat to the Genting group.

"But then again, we also have to look at what his proposed integrated resort has to offer,” the analyst told Starbiz, adding that gaming business players aspire to operate a casino because of the lucrative gains.

“When we talk about casinos, we are not just looking at the local market.

“We compare them with Singapore and Macau that are fighting hard for customers from China, especially the high-rollers.

"Casino operators are not aiming for the mass market, which does not really drive earnings,” the report quoted an analyst as saying. – June 18, 2014.