Sat | May 27, 2017

Azan building new gaming lounge

Published:Sunday | October 19, 2014 | 10:00 AM
The new gaming lounge being developed by Sizzling Slots Limited at 100 Hope Road, Kingston.
The new gaming lounge being developed by Sizzling Slots Limited at 100 Hope Road, Kingston.
1
2

Avia Collinder, Business Reporter

Gassan Azan, through his company Sizzling Slots Limited, is constructing a 14,000-square-foot gaming lounge, sports bar and restaurant at 100 Hope Road in Kingston, with capacity for 150 seats.

The land on which the building is going up has been leased by Sizzling Slots for 10 years.

The steel-framed building will be completed and ready for business by January 2015, Azan told Sunday Business, noting that all permits for the operation, including those from the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission and the Kingston & St Andrew Corporation (KSAC), were progressing satisfactorily.

The planned investment of $200 million is coming from cash flow from other operations, the businessman said.

Sizzling Slots Limited, owned by Azan and partner Adam Epstein, has been in business since 2010.

The majority of the shares in the company, 99,800, is held through an offshore vehicle, SS International Corp, while Azan holds 149 shares, Epstein has 50 and Juan Machado holds one share, according to Companies Office records.

The name of the new lounge is yet to be determined. It's accompanying restaurant will offer both indoor and outdoor dining, said Azan.

"It will be an excellent addition to the Kingston landscape in terms of business," he said. "The parking space is 120 cars, which is hopefully enough."

SMALLER OPERATIONS CLOSED

The company has opted to concentrate its
business model on lounges, as opposed to smaller gaming shops. In that
regard, it closed down two smaller operations at Half-Way Tree Road and
downtown Kingston because of large overhead costs, and staff was
absorbed into the larger gaming lounges.

Sizzling
Slots Limited continues to operate The Vault at the former Wyndham Hotel
in New Kingston but Old Harbour Sizzling Slots is no longer
operational, Azan's executive assistant confirmed on Thursday. But there
was no clarification up to press time on when it closed and whether it
was shuttered permanently.

"It did not make sense to
put so much management into a small operation," said Azan earlier on
Tuesday, referencing the gaming shops. Such shops, under licence, can
only operate up to 19 machines.

Azan also said revenue
was down at The Vault, but will hopefully recover with the reopening of
the hotel. The property, which was placed in receivership by its
bankers, was recently sold to hotelier Kevin
Hendrickson.

"We have not been doing well at the
Wyndham," Azan said, noting that traffic for the lounge had slowed due
to the hotel's closure. The property, which up to then was managed by
Wyndham, was shuttered after a fire there.

"It has not
been the best of times," he said. "We are hoping we can get a good
agreement with the new owner."

Hendrickson reportedly
offered US$17.6 million for the 300-room property, outbidding nine other
potential buyers in mid-August. It gives Hendrickson control of the
three hotel properties lining the lower end of Knutsford Boulevard, the
others being The Courtleigh and The Jamaica
Pegasus.

In early October, group marketing manager
Nicola Madden-Greig said the sale to Hendrickson was yet to close and
that the opening date for the hotel was
uncertain.

avia.collinder@gleaner.com