Half a year into its opening, Tiger Palace Resort in Bhairahawa, Nepal – pegged as South Asia’s first integrated casino resort – is already looking at a sizeable expansion to cater to the growing demand for gaming in the Indian market.
A part of Australian-listed Silver Heritage Group, the 8.9ha Tiger Palace Resort with an investment value of U$52 million features 100 hotels rooms and two villas, a 2,500m2 gaming floor, six F&B outlets and a kid’s zone.
“We opened as a hotel in September 2017 and (added) the gaming portion just before the New Year. We see demand for at least 100 more rooms, an expanded VIP gaming area, more F&B options and an additional block of rooms in the budget category,” said Tim Shepherd, co-founder of Silver Heritage Group.
The group is also in talks with a few theme park operators to look at the potential of possibly opening a theme park at the resort.
The resort, a two hours’ drive from the Gorakhpur Airport in Uttar Pradesh, was purpose built for Indian gamers, unlike casinos in Macau that cater more to Chinese travellers, according to Shepherd.
“India is a very exciting market. At present we are reaching out to the market through Nepal, which is very investment friendly, while it is tough to open a gaming resort in India,” Shepherd commented.
A white paper by Global Market Advisors projects that India could become the next dominant force in Asian gaming, provided its growing population has easy access to the right number and mix of casino resorts, positioned throughout India’s major cities and borders.
Since opening, Tiger Palace Resort has seen growing demand from India, having hosted Indian weddings – including one with 900 guests – bachelor parties and casino goers.
“Our concern now is to create awareness about our resort in the Indian market,” said Shepherd. To raise awareness and boost guest numbers, the resort is working offline and online travel agencies in India.