Self-made Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada has increased his investment assurance to $2 billion U.S. towards completing phase one of the integrated Manila Bay Resorts casino and entertainment complex. The Philippine gaming regulator PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement & Gaming Corp) had already approved a partnership agreement with Philippine businessman Antonio “Tony Boy” Cojuangco, which satisfied the Philippine constitutional foreign ownership requirements. Compliance with both financial and land ownership prerequisites paved the way for PAGCOR to extend the construction deadline to the end of December 2016.
Philippine’s BusinessWorld reports that Universal Entertainment, Okada’s umbrella company, entered into an agreement with holding agent Deutsche Securities Inc. to place up to $900 million in private notes intended for financing the finish of the construction. Kenji Sugiyama, President of Tiger Resort, Leisure, and Entertainment, the Philippine affiliate of Universal, stated that phase one will open with 1,000 rooms in two hotels, 500 gaming tables, 3000 slot machines, and employ 8,000 people. It will also feature 25 high-end restaurants, a nightclub, and a man-made beach housed in a giant glass dome.
Finding a Philippine land partner was one of the greater challenges Okada faced after winning one of only four permits issued by PAGCOR for Manila’s “Entertainment City” – a Las Vegas style comprehensive gaming and entertainment complex. Earlier conversations were engaged with Robinsons Land Corp, Empire East Land Holdings, Inc., and most recently Century Properties Group, Inc., but negotiations collapsed with all three. Cojuangco came on board through his company All Seasons Hotel and Resort Corp., and his other investments include communications (telco, TV broadcast, newspapers) and banks. He admits that what attracts him to the project are the plans to build an Opera House, and committed to the project through partial ownership of the land even though he is not a gambler and is not interested in the casino aspects of the complex.
Of the four complexes that are under construction at the “Entertainment City” site, Manila Bay Resorts is the largest and considered the most extravagant. Okada expects to spend over $4 billion on the project by full complex completion.