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The first casino resort in the the Primorye Entertainment Zone is due to open next month by Macau magnate Lawrence Ho' gambling investment firm Summit Ascent Holdings.

The $500 million complex will boast 121 rooms alongside a luxury casino suite and gaming floor.

It is due to open on 28 August after completing construction and undertaking final government inspections.

Initially, styled as Tigre de Cristal this will comprise five VIP gaming tables, 42 mass market gaming tables, and 759 slot machines in a $172 million first phase.

Some 700 staff have been trained for the opening as croupiers, dealers, floor managers and the like, a number that will increase to over 1,000 when the complex is operating at full capacity.

Other major casino and hotel complexes will rapidly come on stream in coming years, with the aim of making this gambling zone near Vladivostok one of the big names in the world.

A project of Hong Kong-based Summit Ascent Holdings, the complex had been due to open in April, but was delayed.

A former Scottish accountant, Craig Ballantyne, has been put in charge, as chief operating officer.

'Remember, there are 120 million gambling-mad Chinese, Japanese and Koreans living within two hours' flying time of this place,' he told the BBC recently, which scoffed at the new development as a 'cathedral of bling'.

This is backed by an official company statement, saying: 'The proximity to Northern China of the beautiful European city of Vladivostok makes our value proposition unique.

We will have monopoly on gaming in the Russian Far East until at least 2018, and will attract not only Chinese and Russian tourists, but also Korean and Japanese gaming tourists for the foreseeable future.

'That combined with the lowest effective gaming tax regime in the world, a tax exemption on non-gaming revenue until 2020, underutilized infrastructure, strengthening ties between Russia and China and our first mover advantage provides us with an opportunity to deliver a strong return on invested capital to investors in our company.' The second phase is to be 'much grander in scope' with 100 VIP gaming tables, 70 mass market gaming tables, 500 slot machines, a shopping mall, food and drink outlets, a spa centre, night club, conference facilities and 500 hotel rooms.