Philippine GGR seen gaining 20 percent in 2015

Gross gambling revenue in the Philippines is likely to gain 20 percent in 2015, despite the slowdown in Chinese VIP traffic, Philippine Amusement & Gaming Corp Chairman Cristino Naguiat told Bloomberg in an interview.

In the first half, GGR was up 16 percent to $1.4 billion and there’s a “good chance” it will reach $3 billion this year, he said.

Naguiat’s comments sent shares in Philippine casino operators sharply higher, with Bloomberry Resorts & Casino, the operator of the Solaire casino, gaining 8 percent on the day. Melco Crown Philippines Resorts Corp., operator of City of Dreams Manila, soared 8.8 percent and Travellers International Hotel Group, which runs Resorts World Manila, posted its first gain in eight days.

Philippine gaming revenue could have been higher if not for China’s anti-graft campaign, Naguiat told the news agency.

Some analysts have expressed doubt in recent reports about the Philippines’ ability to attract Chinese tourists due to political tensions and a lack of cultural affinity between the two countries.

Tourist arrivals in the Philippines increased 8.2 percent to 2.23 million in the first five months of the year, with most coming from South Korea, who accounted for 24.5 percent of the total, followed by the U.S. and Japan. China is the fourth largest source of tourists, with a 7.1 percent share.