Hong Kong-based Landing International has sold Les Ambassadeurs Club, the exclusive high-end casino in London’s affluent Mayfair district, for $320.3 million. Landing announced the sale had been completed on Wednesday. The buyer is believed to be Paul Suen Cho Hung, owner of Birmingham City, a soccer club in England’s second tier.
“Les A,” as it is known colloquially, is perhaps best recognized as the casino in the beginning of the first James Bond film, “Dr. No.” The venue provides the backdrop for where the immortal lines, “Bond, James Bond,” are uttered for the first time on screen by a tuxedoed Sean Connery at the chemin de fer tables, a game considered a predecessor to baccarat.
Other than occasional appearances on celluloid, Les Ambassadeurs remains a discrete venue for the super-rich. Premium membership to the club costs £25,000 per year ($33,000), which will afford you privileges such as private boxes at sports events, private jet travel, and special rates at London’s finest hotels.
Money for Jeju World
Suen is one of the biggest Chinese investors in the UK. In Asia, he’s known as “the King of Penny Slots” for his skill in flipping “distressed stock.” This practice of buying poorly performing companies and selling them for profit, doesn’t seem to be, however, a reflection on either Les Ambassadeurs or Birmingham City.
Landing purchased the casino in 2015 for $181 million and will make a handsome profit from the sale, which will likely free up capital for the development of its $1.8 billion Jeju Shinhwa World integrated resort, currently under construction on the South Korean holiday island of Jeju.
Landing recently announced that Jeju World will host its official grand opening on Dec. 8. However, the resort intends to open in phases as construction continues, and will not be complete until late 2019.
The resort had its soft opening in April with the unveiling of 344 luxury accommodation units. Between now and December, Jeju World expects to roll out the first of two family theme parks, a Landing-branded hotel, conference center, and exhibition hall, plus restaurants and a shopping mall.
Meanwhile, just in case you were on the market for a luxury private members casino in a swanky district London and feel you missed the boat, all is not lost. Malaysian casino giant Genting recently put Maxims Casino on the market.
Maxims is based inside a grade II-listed early Victorian townhouse, built for Charles Dickens’ friend and biographer John Forster, no less. But the good news is it’s a smaller but similarly exclusive venue, and so it’s a little bit cheaper, setting you back only around $55 million.