Philippines-based Bloomberry Resorts, the operator of the Solaire Resort in Manila, was an early mover on seeking an IR license in Japan, and their main interest appears to have converged on Wakayama’s Marina City location.
In an exclusive interview with Asia Gaming Brief, Estella Tuason-Occeña, CFO and treasurer of Bloomberry Resorts, as well as Takeshi Hojo, president of the company’s Japan unit, provided insight about their campaign.
Bloomberry has maintained a permanent office in Tokyo since 2014, just a year after the Solaire Resort opened in their home country.
With somewhat more modest financial resources than some of the giants of Macau or Las Vegas, Bloomberry seems to be aiming for a regional Japanese market, and among these they appear to be most actively interested in Wakayama.
Hojo notes that Bloomberry was among seven IR operators which met with Wakayama Governor Yoshinobu Nisaka at the recent Japan Gaming Congress. He appears to appreciate the governor’s proactive efforts to take the political lead on this issue.
Mitsuaki Kiriyama, another Bloomberry representative, spoke at the most recent Wakayama IR public seminar.
Additionally, the decision by Governor Nisaka to drop the foreigner-only casino plan appears to be well appreciated. Tuason-Occeña commented, “You know we operate a casino in Jeju, and we can tell you, if it’s a foreign-only casino, you can never get any of your money’s worth.”
The Bloomberry representatives fully realize that any Japan IR licensing bid will face stiff competition from other international operators, but they have no intention of dropping out. Tuason-Occeña noted, “Whether or not our effort will come to fruition, we still want to do it anyway.”