Philippines

A panel of outside experts pulled together by Universal Entertainment to probe about $40 million in payments related to its Entertainment City casino project in the Philippines has disbanded indefinitely, Reuters reported. The panel decided to disband after the company failed to disclose its interim findings to the public, the news agency said, citing a statement by the panel provided to reporters in Tokyo. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Nevada gaming regulator and the Philippine government have been probing whether the $40 million were bribes.

Bloomberry Resorts Corporation said it’s teaming up with Ayala Land to operate the retail component within its $1.2 billion Solaire Resort & Casino, currently undergoing expansion. Ayala Land will be leasing and marketing 5,000 square meters of the gross leasable area opening under Phase 1-A of the Solaire expansion project. Bloomberry said the retail component will include luxury brands. Solaire opened in March 2013 and is targeting double-digit revenue growth this year, boosted by Asian high rollers.
 

Philippine lawmakers are calling on Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada to appear personally at a panel hearing to explain allegations he used dummy corporations to meet requirements for a casino license in Manila, local media reported. Cavite Representative Elpidio Barzaga Jr., chair of the Philippine House committee on games and amusement said members were fed up with the stonewalling by Okada’s lawyers. Barzaga raised the possibility of issuing a subpoena to force Okada to attend.

Bloomberry Resorts Corp. expects double-digit annual growth in gaming volume, boosted by its high roller business, Bloomberg cited President Thomas Arasi as saying in an interview. Solaire’s international business has increased “considerably,” boosting VIP operations at the 14-month-old casino. From “substantially” less than half of gambling revenue last year, the share generated by VIP clients has risen to “close to parity” with mass-market gaming, he said. Solaire Resorts & Casino opened in Manila last year.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation has agreed to cut license fees for companies operating in Entertainment City in Manila by 10 percent to offset a recent tax increase in the country. The reductions apply to Travellers International Hotel Group, Inc., Bloomberry Resorts and Hotels, Inc., MCE Leisure (Philippines) Corporation, and Tiger Resorts Leisure and Entertainment, Inc. Mr.

Travellers International Hotel Group said in a filing that it has obtained the approval of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) to significantly boost its gaming capacity in Resorts World Manila. The company will be able to install an additional 420 gaming tables and 4,148 gaming machines. At end-2013, Resorts World Manila housed 287 gaming tables for the VIP and mass markets, 1,822 slot machines and 210 electronic table games.

 

Bloomberry Resorts said it returned to a profit in the first quarter as gaming revenue at its Solaire Resorts & Casino jumped 12 fold. Gross revenue surged to PHP7.38 billion ($165.4 million) pesos from PHP661 million the prior year, while profit was PHP1.46 billion from a loss of PHP1.05 a year ago. Gaming revenue hit PHP7.06 billion making up 95.7 percent of the total. “It’s significant we were able to return to profit after only one year of operation,” chairman and CEO Enrique Razon said in a release.

SM Prime Holdings has reached a decision not to consolidate Belle Corp, its gaming and development arm, into the group at least for the next five years, according to a local newspaper. The consolidation of SM Group’s property assets will focus on the malls and residential business, SM Prime chairman Henry Sy Jr. told The Philippine Star in an interview.  “SM Prime shareholders are so varied. A lot of funds are from the Middle East so some have concerns on gaming,” Sy said.

 

Annual results from Bloomberry Resorts and Resorts World Manila have cast some doubt about the market’s ability to absorb greater competition, according to an analysis in Forbes. RWM operating profit fell 38.1 percent and net profit fell 59.3 percent. But the magazine points to the 50 percent gain in promotional allowances to $57 million in the face of increased competition from Solaire, which opened last year. Solaire spent $76 million in promotions for its $276 million in revenue.

Bloomberry Resorts said its 2013 net loss almost doubled as expenses related to the development of its Solaire Resort & Casino surged. The company had a loss of 1.3 billion pesos compared with 690 million pesos the prior year. However, revenue surged to 12.34 billion pesos from 196 million the prior year. The company said pre-operating expenses were about 1.05 billion pesos. Adjusted for those the net loss would have been 267 million pesos.

 

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