Bloomberry Resorts Corp which operates the Solaire Resort and Casino in Manila Bay has reported that its casino is currently at full capacity thanks to an influx of Chinese gamblers during the last few months. The company recently announced that it plans to invest around $418 million and develop a second casino in Quezon City, which is the northern part of Manila.
Filipino billionaire Enrique Razone who owns Bloomberry Resorts expects construction on the new casino to begin mid-2017 and be completed before the end of 2019. Razone had earlier expressed interest in acquiring a gaming license in Cyprus and investing in a casino resort in South Korea. However, Razone who has a net worth of around $3 billion according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index decided to pull out of both ventures and focus on expanding in the Philippines.
There has been an increase in tourism from Mainland China and South Korea since President Duterte took office on June 30, 2016. President Duterte has looked to develop better relations with both China and South Korea, upgrade the international airport and also open a new toll road that leads to the area where the Solaire Resort and Casino is located. The two biggest groups of foreigners at the Solaire casino are Chinese and South Koreans and Razone believes that tourism will continue to improve during President Duterte’s reign which will be beneficial for the casino industry.
In a statement, Jonathan Ravelas, chief market strategist at BDO Unibank Inc said “Tourism has far more to go if only we have the right infrastructure. Razon is making a bet that President Duterte will deliver on his promises on infrastructure.”
The President has adopted a tough stance against the e-gaming industry in the country and decided not to renew PhilWeb Corp’s e-gaming license. The company was the biggest e-gaming provider in the Philippines operating 286 e-gaming and e-bingo parlors. However the crackdown on the e-gaming industry has not deterred Razone from wanting to invest in a second casino resort.
Razone believes that President Duterte’s crackdown on the e-gaming industry is beneficial to the brick and mortar casino industry in the country. The casino industry in the Philippines witnessed a 24 percent increase during the first half of 2016 when compared to the same period in 2015. Gross gaming revenues (GGR) for Bloomberry during the first half of this year went up by 17 percent compared to 2015.
The contraction of Macau’s casino economy is another reason why the casino industry in the Philippines has continued to do well. Razone’s new Solaire casino resort in Quezon City will include a hotel, convention center, retail outlets and restaurants. The casino industry in Manila continues to expand as Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada will open his Okada Manila casino in November and Malaysian and Filipino billionaires Lim Kok Thay and Andrew Tan are also developing a casino resort in the capital city.