NagaCorp to Buy Planes, Fly in Gamblers

NagaCorp, the country’s largest operator of gambling facilities, is set to expand its grip on the betting market by taking control of a fleet of airplanes that would fly gamblers to Phnom Penh direct from Macau and China, the Macau Business Daily reported Tuesday.

The business plan sees NagaCorp cooperating with travel agents in Macau, China, and eventually other parts of Southeast Asia to offer package deals that would send gamblers to sites such as Angkor Wat as well as its casino in Phnom Penh.

“One of our strategies is to increase our relationship with junket operators, not only in Macau but in Singapore and the Philippines…to increase our market share,” NagaCorp chairman Timothy McNally was quoted as saying.

“We won’t be competing with Macau. What we are doing is enhancing the number [of travelers],” he added.

In its 2013 Annual Results posted to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, NagaCorp states its intention to poach customers from the large gambling market in Macau, a tiny nation with at least 33 casinos in operation, rather than compete with it.

“To penetrate the lucrative VIP market in Macau, the Group plans to charter flights between Macau and Phnom Penh to facilitate Macau-based junket operators sending their players to NagaWorld,” the report states.

But since that report was compiled, the plan has changed and NagaCorp now intends to acquire its own fleet of jets, according to the Macau Business Daily, which said that Mr. McNally confirmed NagaCorp is in the process of buying another three planes—including two Airbus A320s, which can cost up to $100 million new—to add to the single private jet it already uses to fly VIP gamblers into the country.

NagaCorp announced a 25 percent increase in its gross gaming revenue in its 2013 Annual Results, and a net profit of $140.3 million, leaving the company in a strong position to take on all the costs associated with the expansion.

In May last year, NagaCorp announced plans to build a $15 million Naga Terminal at Phnom Penh International Airport, with its own immigration checkpoint.

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