Japanese casino magnate, entrepreneur, and chairman of Universal Entertainment Corporation, Kazuo Okada, says that the gambling market in the Philippines could eventually overshadow Singapore, Bloomberg reports. The billionaire said this on the eve of the opening of his latest project, the 280,000 sq feet, $2.4 billion investment – the Okada Manila Casino Resort.
As the business portal reports, his prediction is based on the recent changes in the Philippines, where President Duterte has been working tirelessly to reduce crime and drugs but also soften relations with China. Thanks to the improvement of the bilateral relations, the Philippines will be seeing a new wave of Chinese visitors, according to the 74-year old businessman.
With the Chinese government enforcing a fierce crackdown on corruption and the Macau government joining the cause, the hold on the middle-class Asian market and Chinese high-rollers that Macau once had was shaken badly, prompting contenders to try and race for the spot of number one gambling safe haven in Asia. The key countries jumping on the opportunity were Singapore and Philippines, with Japan being the latest addition, where the government passed the bill to legalize casinos only recently.
However, according to official data, the Philippines have a long way to go, as their revenue is expected to reach $3 billion in 2016 – a number lower than Singapore ($4.8 billion in 2015) and not even close to Macau who still hold the spotlight with $28.9 billion in 2015. But despite the stiff competition, Okada says he has high hopes about his new resort.
According to the article, Okada expects the casino to bring returns to his investment within three-five years. Their initial goal is to attract 30% of international visitors from China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan and later grow it to 50% – a brave outlook, no doubt, considering recent events.