The Silver Heritage casino operator group has finally been given the official green light to launch its gaming operations at its new Nepalese casino. The last few days of December 2017 saw the Australian-listed company informing the markets that Nepal’s Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation issued a license to operate a casino at its Tiger Palace Resort Bhairahawa, finally ending the ongoing delays that have prevented the Tiger Palace gaming venue from opening. In September, the property’s hotel was opened to paying guests, with the casino floor scheduled to open during November. However, delays in the construction meant the company was forced to put back its filing of an application for a gaming license.
Convenient Location by Indian Border
The Tiger Palace enjoys a convenient location just minutes from the Indian border, and the company now expects most of its customers to come from the state of Uttar Pradesh, which is just over the border. There are only authorized casinos in three Indian jurisdictions. Uttar Pradesh is not one, despite it being the most populous state in India with more than 200 million inhabitants.
New Year Celebrations Saw Casino Hosting 400 Guests
Silver Heritage launched its gaming operations at the Tiger Palace Resort on Dec. 28, the very day on which the license was awarded, with 216 electronic games machines and 44 gaming tables. The New Year’s Eve event saw more than 400 guests enjoying the casino and hotel’s facilities, which include a pool, gym, and spa, as well as five options for food and beverage service. The five-star hotel’s 100 rooms were filled for the holiday season.
Already, the company has started to work on the second phase of the Tiger Palace. It plans to add another 400-room hotel to boost the capacity of the property to 500 rooms, as well as a few luxury villas. A plan is also underway to open a VIP room with eight gaming tables in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Silver Heritage’s Five-Year Plan
The company is now touting its five-year plan, which involves developing several high-quality casinos that will be aimed squarely at the Indian gambling market. This is an interesting and potentially lucrative move for Silver Heritage since many investors and casino firms have focused their marketing strategies on Asian projects designed to appeal to the Chinese market. India’s gaming market is, so far, largely overlooked and somewhat undervalued, considering the only legal Indian casinos are based in Goa, which is more than 2,000 kilometers from the Nepalese border, and in Sikkim, which is slightly closer, but still a considerable distance at more than 750 kilometers away. As India is predicted to be home to the biggest middle-class consumption in the world by 2030, at approximately $12.8 trillion, compared with the estimated consumption of $10 trillion for China, it appears that Silver Heritage is setting itself up for a savvy move.
The Tiger Palace is Nepal’s second gambling venue to be owned by Silver Heritage. Its sister venue, the Millionaire’s Club, and Casino, is in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital city. Back in September, Silver Heritage also announced that it was considering the possibility of opening a third venue in the country, close to the Indian borders states of Sikkim and Bihar.
Counting the Costs
Bringing the Tiger Palace hotel to the market has taken a heavy toll on Silver Heritage, and the company has had to issue new equity to raise enough money to complete the construction of the casino. It also lost Tim Shepherd, its co-founder, who left the firm in August for unknown reasons.
A grand opening for the new resort is now being planned for March, and a separate launch event will also take place in Kathmandu.