homas Arasi, president of PSX-listed Bloomberry, delivered the news at the company’s first annual meeting, saying another 100,000 square meters of meetings and exhibit space will be added together with additional retail space and more gaming space that will be bring the resort, which opened last March as the first of four destination casinos planned for the Entertainment City leisure district on Manila Bay, to 650 table games and 3,000 machine games.
“Solaire will rank amongst the largest and the most comprehensive integrated resorts in the world,” Arasi said.
Solaire currently has 500 hotel rooms, 300 gaming tables, 1,200 slot machines and 6,000 square meters of VIP gaming. The November expansion will add 312 hotel rooms, 223 machine games and 65 VIP tables to that, along with more restaurants, an outdoor promenade anchored by 40 retail shops, a 1,760-seat showroom, a nightclub and spa and fitness faciities.
The aim is to grow the contribution of Solaire’s VIP gamblers from 51 percent or so of first-quarter revenues to as much as 70 percent, the company said.
Melco Crown Entertainment’s City of Dreams Manila is slated to open in October as the second of the Entertainment City IRs to be followed in 2015 by Kazuo Okada’s Manila Bay Resorts and Travellers International Hotel Group’s Resorts World Bayshore in 2016.
However, all those plans were thrown into some turmoil last year by a government decision to strip them of immunity from the country’s 30% corporate tax. The Bureau of Internal Revenue says state-owned operator and regulator PAGCOR is responsible for the tax and, by default, PAGCOR’s private-sector licensees as well. PAGCOR has agreed to temporarily reduce its licensing fees to compensate private operators for the corporate tax. Bloomberry, meanwhile, has filed a petition with Philippine Supreme Court seeking to overturn the BIR’s decision outright.