Corporate News

by Keith Richard D. Mariano, Reporter

Okada Manila starts casino operations

Posted on December 30, 2016

OKADA MANILA is launching its casino operations on Friday (Dec. 30), more than a week after opening its doors for a preview.

In a statement released late Wednesday, Tiger Resort, Leisure & Entertainment, Inc. announced it will start at 7 p.m. on Friday the casino operations at the latest integrated resort and casino development to open in the Entertainment City in Parañaque.

“This follows the approval and issuance of a notice to commence casino operations from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) on Dec. 21,” the company, owned by Japanese gaming mogul Kazuo Okada, noted.

In addition to the casino, Tiger will open its membership club Reward Circle for registration. Guests may immediately start earning points by then.

“As Okada Manila’s preview period continues, the opening of the hotel and additional restaurants will be announced in the coming weeks with the grand opening taking place end of February 2017,” the company said.

Tiger opened Okada Manila on Dec. 21 for “preview” to comply with its licensing agreement with PAGCOR. Last year, the regulator slapped a $2.2-billion fine against the company and warned of the suspension of its license because of delays in the project.

The casino and other amenities within the first phase of Okada Manila had been scheduled for soft-opening in November. Tiger would further delay the opening to Dec. 21.

In an Oct. 3 disclosure to the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Mr. Okada’s Universal Entertainment Corp. noted the development “has not markedly lagged behind the original plan although the progress has differed somewhat from the plan, affected by worse-than-expected weather conditions.”

Universal Entertainment released the statement amid the crackdown ordered by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on online gambling, which somehow cast a cloud of uncertainty over the government’s policy on gaming operations.

“In view of policy actions by the Philippines government and the economic environment in the near term, we are now in the process of carefully considering the optimal timing for opening the facility towards delivering maximized shareholder value,” Universal Entertainment had noted in the Oct. 3 disclosure without specifying the risks.

Tiger has invested $2.4 billion for the development of Okada Manila thus far. The first phase covers 21.55 hectares of the 44-hectare property awarded to the company in the Entertainment City owned by PAGCOR at the foreshore of the Manila Bay.

The company is developing 41,000 square meters (sq.m.) into a casino with 500 table games and 3,000 electronic games; a two-hectare dancing fountain; two hotels offering 993 rooms; a beach club that could accommodate 4,500 people; 21 food and beverage outlets; a high-end retail area spanning 8,409 sq.m.; and a 3,000-sq.m. spa.

Okada Manila is the largest and most expensive development in Entertainment City to date. Bloomberry Resorts Corp. and the partnership of Belle Corp and Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd., which have already opened their casino-resorts in the area, have invested more than $1 billion each.

Alliance Global Group, Inc. is working on the blueprint of the last casino-resort to open in Entertainment City. In partnership with Malaysia’s Genting Group, the company intends to develop 31 hectares into a leisure and entertainment township called Westside City.