Macau group signs $600 mn Philippine casino deal

Macau mogul Lawrence Ho's gaming firm signed an agreement Friday to invest $600 million in a giant casino project in Manila, boosting the Philippines' bid to join the world's gambling big leagues.

The investment in the Belle Grande integrated gaming resort is Melco Crown Entertainment's first venture in the casino business outside its Macau base, Ho told a news conference.

"We're very excited about our project. We think that the Philippines is one of the fastest-growing and most exciting countries around," Ho said before overseeing the signing of the deal with Philippine billionaire Henry Sy.

Ho's Melco Crown partner James Packer, an Australian billionaire, was also in Manila for the signing of the joint venture agreement with Sy-controlled Belle Corp, which is building the casino.

It is set to open by mid-2014 inside a giant complex along Manila Bay called Entertainment City.

Belle Corp. was one of four firms given franchises by the Philippine government to build gaming resorts worth at least $1 billion each at the 100-hectare (247-acre) site.

The first of the four casinos, $1.2 billion Solaire, opens for business on Saturday.

After Solaire and Belle Grande, two other casinos -- one controlled by Japanese tycoon Kazuo Okada and the other by Malaysia's Genting Group -- are set to open between 2015 and 2017.

The Philippine government is hoping Entertainment City can draw millions of newly wealthy Asians, boosting tourism and eventually generating up to $10 billion in annual revenues.

"For the next probably 30-50 years the main growth in entertainment and gaming is going to be in Asia," said Ho, co-chairman and chief executive of Melco Crown.

"We think our Philippine venture is going to be a key contributor to our business," he added.

"This is definitely a city where people love to enjoy and live life."

Ho said he was impressed by Solaire's offerings during a visit Friday on the eve of its launch, adding the clustering of rivals in a single hub would help both draw more customers.

Ho expects gaming revenues in the Philippines to triple to $3 billion by 2015, from about $1 billion annually.

"If you project that and extrapolate it even further down the road, the Philippines in five, six years could be effectively the size of Las Vegas or Singapore," he said, referring to the world's other major gaming hubs.

As the only one among the planned or existing Manila casinos with a Macau connection, Ho said Belle Grande would draw more Chinese tourists to the Philippines.

"Ultimately, we do have one of the largest databases in terms of Chinese and also Asian visitors... I think that's going to be a significant contributor to our success," he said.

Ho said he was not worried about potential fallout from a tense territorial dispute between China and the Philippines over islands and waters in the South China Sea.

"Hopefully these issues will resolve themselves in the near future," he said.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Philippines hits back at Beijing over South China Sea
    Philippines hits back at Beijing over South China Sea

    The Philippines on Saturday shot back at Beijing's criticism of its activities in the South China Sea, saying they were "in no way comparable to China's massive reclamation activities" in the waters. It also said accusations that Manila was being "hypocritical" would not distract people from Beijing's own actions which were raising regional tensions. "The Philippines' possible undertaking of necessary maintenance and repairs on its existing facilities in the West Philippine Sea... is in no …

  • Boxing hero Pacquiao is top tax-payer in Philippines: govt
    Boxing hero Pacquiao is top tax-payer in Philippines: govt

    Boxing hero Manny Pacquiao, who faces his biggest fight against unbeaten American Floyd Mayweather, already holds top spot as the number one taxpayer in the Philippines, government records showed Saturday. A list of top individual tax-payers for 2013, posted on the Bureau of Internal Revenue website, put the boxer-turned-congressman at number one with 163.84 million pesos ($3.72 million) in taxes paid. Internal revenue chief Kim Henares confirmed that Pacquiao topped the list but stressed …

  • Phl, Japan sign P9.6-B ODA projects
    Phl, Japan sign P9.6-B ODA projects

    The Philippines and Japan have signed agreements for six official development assistance (ODA) projects amounting to 22.289 billion yen or around P9.6 billion. …

  • Commission to launch glossary of Pinoy meteorological terms
    Commission to launch glossary of Pinoy meteorological terms

    The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) will release a glossary of meteorological terms in Filipino to help the Filipino people better understand weather forecasts and instill disaster awareness among them. National Artist for Literature and KWF president Virgilio Almario said yesterday the KWF produced the glossary titled Patnubay sa Weder Forkast to simplify scientific terms used in the weather bulletins of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration …

  • Divorce bill good scapegoat for couples – CBCP
    Divorce bill good scapegoat for couples – CBCP

    Contrary to what romance novel writers would want their readers to believe, there are no perfect marriages in the real world. This was according to Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas. In a statement titled “CBCP Position Against the Divorce Bill and Against the Decriminalization of Adultery and Concubinage,” Villegas said that while it is not easy to make relationships last, learning how to work out differences – and …

  • DND holds off infra dev’t in Pag-Asa
    DND holds off infra dev’t in Pag-Asa

    The defense department is holding off repairs and other planned infrastructure projects on Pag-Asa Island, one of seven islets and two reefs occupied by Filipino troops in the disputed Spratly Islands. Earlier, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario pointed out that the maintenance and repair of facilities in Pag-Asa Island are not covered by the Declaration of Conduct (DOC) of parties involved in the West Philippine Sea territorial disputes. “Repair and maintenance is okay but before …

  • Blackout to hit 5 Aurora towns
    Blackout to hit 5 Aurora towns

    An 11-hour power outage will hit five towns in Aurora on Tuesday, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) announced yesterday. The NGCP said Baler, Dingalan, San Luis, Ma. Aurora and Dipaculao would be affected by the blackout. The NGCP said parts of Nueva Ecija and Aurora were hit by a power interruption yesterday due to the tripping of the Cabanatuan-Baler 69kV line. …

  • Rules set for climate change programs
    Rules set for climate change programs

    The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Climate Change Commission (CCC) have released the revised guidelines to track and monitor climate change adaptation programs of the government. “The government of the Philippines has demonstrated leadership and strong commitment in implementing a comprehensive reform agenda to respond to climate change,” read the joint memorandum circular published in The STAR yesterday. “With the goal of using the budget process to plan, prioritize and …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options