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Bloomberry Purchases an Island and a Casino Operator for Big Bet on South Korea

Solaire Casino Manila

Philippine's Bloomberry Resorts Corporation, the company that controls the Solaire Entertainment and Casino Resort in Manila's Entertainment City, is getting ready to expand its footprint in the Asian gambling and entertainment industry. As it announced on Tuesday, the company plans to buy a casino operator and an island in South Korea.

Although the operations have been presented as concluded by Bloomberry, they are both still subject to several government regulations and the completion of certain conditions.

In a statement sent to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Bloomberry announced that its Korean subsidiary Solaire Korea Co. Ltd has inked a deal to take control of up to 92 percent of the Golden & Luxury Co. Ltd., the company that operates the T.H.E. Hotel & Vegas Casino in Jeju Island, South Korea.

"Solaire is on a trajectory of growth and we are now slightly shifting our focus to other destinations," Bloomberry Chief Executive Officer Enrique K. Razon, Jr. said.

Philippines' second richest man and 29th on Forbes' list of billionaires, Razon explained that the operation has been concluded to set the foundation of Bloomberry's future operations in Asia.

"We are excited at the prospect of Solaire setting up a base in Korea and introducing the Solaire brand of integrated resorts to the country," Razon continued. "Although this will happen in the next few years, it is good business to start prospecting, and Korea is a likely choice because of its positive investment climate."

On March 16, Reuters reported that the Bloomberry Corporation has signed an agreement to buy Silmi, a 20.96-hectare island west of Seoul, where the company plans to develop some new facilities.

"Bloomberry Resorts Corporation (BLOOM) hereby discloses that it has signed a real-estate sales agreement for the purchase of the Silmi Island in the Republic of Korea," Bloomberry Corporate Secretary Silverio Benny Tan wrote in a statement sent to the Security and Exchanges Commission.

"Silmi Island is within in the coverage of the Incheon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ) and is also intended to be developed into a leisure and tourism complex with entertainment facilities and mixed-use developments," Tan continued. "The Silmi Island property will be acquired by Solaire Korea Co. Ltd., a Korean subsidiary company of Bloomberry. Details of the transaction will be disclosed when conditions for the transaction are complied with."

The purchase of Silmi Island comes two months after Bloomberry secured an aggregate area of 12.2 hectares in the adjacent Muui Island.

South Korea Grows Over Japan's Hesitance on Gambling Bill

South Korea seems to be destined to become one of the hottest destinations for the biggest players in Asia's gambling industry, as many have already expressed their interest to invest in new facilities in the peninsula.

Jeju Island
An aeral view of Jeju Island

Undeniably helped by the problems that Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faced when he tried to convince his governing coalition to pass a bill that would legalize gambling in Japan, South Korea is generally seen as the best alternative to intercept the flux of Chinese tourists looking for tourism and gambling facilities in China's neighboring countries.

During 2013, Jeju Island attracted 2.3 million foreign tourists — the vast majority of which were Chinese nationals. The island, which is home to seven casinos, is expected to see that number boost up to 5.3 million during 2015.

Earlier this year, the Korea Herald reported that the South Korean government plans to issue two more licenses to build two additional casino resorts and increase the revenues coming from he tourism sector. Government officials believe that the two licenses could attract investments from operators for at least 2 trillion Won ($1.7 billion).

Image courtesy of G3Newswire

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