International edition
September 28, 2020

The company plans to open a casino and hotel in Manila

Universal Entertainment to invest us$ 2.3 billion in casino project

(Philippines).- Japanese pachinko company Universal Entertainment, which is the biggest shareholder in Wynn Resorts, will invest us$ 2.3 billion in a casino project in the Philippines as Asian demand for gambling venues grows.

T

he company plans to open a casino and hotel in Manila, the capital of Philippines, by December 2013, it said in a statement in Tokyo today. Universal Entertainment is targeting us$ 2 billion in sales from the project in the first year of operations, Chairman Kazuo Okada said in an interview today.

Universal, which makes the pinball-like machines used in pachinko parlors where customers play for prizes, plans to make more money from operating gambling venues, he said. Bettors in Asia are fuelling industry growth in Singapore and Macau, where revenue from casinos was four times that of the Las Vegas Strip last year. Okada’s first-year revenue target for the Manila casino is triple Universal’s sales in the 12 months ended March.

“We will be expanding our casino business to be the Number 1 business for our company,” Okada said. The company, which gets more than 90 percent of its revenue from the sale of Pachislot and Pachinko machines, will decide on opening more casinos in Asia by 2015, Okada said.

Universal Entertainment gained 3.3 percent, the most in three weeks, to 2,605 yen at the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo trading, before the announcement was made. The stock has gained 9.8 percent this year, compared with a 17 percent slide in the broader Topix Index.

‘Getting Better’
The Tokyo-based company will spend $1.6 billion on the construction of the casino and hotel in the Philippines, it said in the statement. An additional $350 million will be invested on a residential project, Universal Entertainment said.

Universal Entertainment has spent $350 million on the land purchased in July 2008, according to its statement. The company, which owns 19.7 percent of the casino operator founded by billionaire Stephen Wynn, said this month it started building its project in Manila in June.

“The business environment in the Philippines and the economy are getting better,” Okada said. The Southeast Asian country reported a budget surplus in August, helped by higher tax revenue, narrowing the eight-month deficit to 15 percent of the level a year earlier.

Philippine Licenses
(Philippines).- Philippine President Benigno Aquino won credit rating upgrades in June from Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service as he chases tax evaders and corrupt officials to narrow the budget deficit to 2.6 % of gross domestic product, or about us$ 6.6 billion.

Melco Crown Entertainment may invest at least us$ 1 billion in a Manila casino project, Cristino Naguiat, chairman of the Philippine Amusement & Gaming, the nation’s gambling regulator, said in a September 2 interview in Shanghai. Melco Crown is a the venture between Australian billionaire James Packer and Lawrence Ho, son of Macau gambling magnate Stanley Ho.

The Philippines awarded four licenses in 2008 and 2009 to operate casinos in a gambling and entertainment complex the government plans to build in Manila.

Each Philippine licensee agreed to invest us$ 1 billion over five years, Naguiat said at that time. Three of the four that were given licenses in 2008 to 2009 were a venture between Genting Malaysia Bhd and Alliance Global Group, Philippine property developer Belle Corp. and Philippine ports magnate Enrique Razon’s Bloombury Investments Holding.

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