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2016 Continues to See the Gaming Industry on the Rise

Okada Manila
  • Gaming on the rise in the Philippines in 2016 with planned expansion ahead.

While the decline for land-based casinos in Macau over the past two years is well documented, casino operators elsewhere in Asia, including in the Philippines, are experiencing better times.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) recently announced its first-half year results reporting gains across the board. On top of the organization operating its own casinos and numerous VIP slot clubs in major cities in the Philippines, PAGCOR is also responsible for overseeing and regulating privately-owned casinos, close to 200 bingo parlors, and e-games cafes throughout the country.

PAGCOR reported 26.9 billion Philippines Pesos (PHP) ($570 million) in total income for the first half of 2016 representing a robust 8.6 percent growth from the PHP 24.8 billion ($525 million) reported the same period a year ago. Additionally, income from gaming operations grew by a more impressive 19.6 percent from the PHP 21.8 billion ($447 million) during the first six-months of 2015 to PHP 26.1 billion ($552 million) this year.

Net income increased by a lower-rate of 2.5 percent from the PHP 2.39 billion ($51 million) reported in the first-half of 2015 to PHP 2.45 billion ($52 million) reported this year. One reason why net income didn't increase proportionally to revenues was a result of a 3.1 percent increase in operating expenses from PHP 6.8 billion ($144 million) in the first-half of 2015 to PHP 7.0 billion ($149 million) in the first six-months of this year.

Perhaps more significantly to the bottom line was the contribution to a variety of governmental funds by the organization increasing significantly by 11.6 percent from PHP 15.6 billion ($331 million) in the first-half of 2015 to PHP 17.4 billion ($369 million) this year.

Planned Expansion in the Philippines

With growth taking place in the Philippines, Japanese billionaire and President of Tiger Resort Leisure & Entertainment Inc. Kazuo Okada has his sites set on competing with what is already in Macau with a multi-billion integrated casino resort which will feature a a huge dancing water fountain, an indoor beach, almost 1,000 hotel-rooms and villas, and 26,000 square meters of gaming space in the country's capital Manila as part of a joint-venture with local businessman Antonio Cojuangco.

This will be the third and biggest casino in the city's Entertainment City with Solaire Resort & Casino and City of Dreams Manila already attracting tons of tourists and gambling enthusiasts from around Asia. Additionally, Genting Hong Kong's and Alliance Global Group's Resorts World Bayshore plans open its doors in 2018 followed by neighboring Westside City expected to be completed in which will include five hotels with a combined 1,500 rooms.

Okada's casino, which was originally planned to be named Manila Bay Resorts, announced in a press conference last week that instead it will be called the Okada Manila. After some delays, the casino is scheduled to complete the first round of development and be ready for business in November 2016.

Okada Manila was first expected to cost around $2.4 billion, however, according to Bloomberg News, Tiger Resort Chief Operating Officer Takahiro Usui implied that the first phase of four could cost as much as $3 billion and total completion of all phases could run as high as $4 billion.

It appears the project recently took another setback with Tiger Resort Executive Vice President of Casino Operations and Marketing Matt Hurst resigning from his position last week along with two senior marketing executives, Bruce Himelfarb and Steve Chan, also pursuing other endeavors.

That being said, Tiger Resorts believes the casino when completed will be the go-to place in Asia with Usui sharing with Bloomberg News that Okada hopes his casino “to compete with what is in Macau.”

Additionally, Okada is striving to increase his footprint in Manila with Cojuangco announcing plans to improve the infrastructure in the city including bidding on an international airport.

"Mr. Okada expressed his desire to be able to bid for the international airports. He believes that the airport is your first contact with the foreign tourists," Cojuangco said according to the Manila Times.

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