TRAVELLERS International Hotel Group, Inc. (TIHGI), the owner and operator of Resorts World Manila (RWM), expects double-digit growth in gross gaming revenues (GGR) as reopens the second floor of its casino area in July, two years after a gunman shot up the casino and started a fire that killed 36 people.

TIHGI President and Chief Executive Officer Kingson U. Sian said the second floor of the casino will take up 7,000 square meters (sq.m.) and will have 100 gaming tables and about 600 slot machines.

“That will be an entire new floor of gaming space, so as we expand the gaming space, we are attracting not only locals but also foreign players to come, and we can develop new junket relationships cause we can provide new space,” Mr. Sian told reporters after the company’s annual shareholders meeting on Friday.

With the opening of the second floor, Mr. Sian said they will have a total of 165 tables and about 1,000 slot machines in RWM’s Grand Wing. This is in addition to more than 200 tables and 1,300 slot machines in the Garden Wing.

The company expects average daily foot traffic to improve to 40,000 to 50,000 by next year because of this expansion, compared to its 2018 average foot traffic of 28,500.

Mr. Sian noted that once they open the second floor of the casino, TIHGI will have more gaming space than it had prior to the gunman’s attack.

With this, TIHGI expects double-digit growth when it comes to gross gaming revenues.

“We’re coming from a low base, and we’re coming up with new spaces so we’re expanding the gaming revenue. The plan is to sustain it. We’re working hard to complete the new facilities,” Mr. Sian said.

Apart from the gaming area, the company is also adding more hotel rooms at the RWM complex with the opening of Hotel Okura Manila by the end of the year. This follows the opening of the Hilton Manila in October 2018 and the Sheraton Manila Hotel last January, for a total of 940 additional rooms.

The company will end the year with 3,555 rooms in the RWM complex.

The other hotels in the complex include the Marriott Hotel Manila, Maxims Hotel, and Holiday Inn Express Manila Newport City.

TIHGI booked a net income attributable to the parent worth P244.44 million in the first quarter of 2019, 45% lower year-on-year. This came amid a 55% jump in gross revenues to P8.49 billion in the same period.

Meanwhile, GGR climbed 53.8% to P6.89 billion, driven by both its VIP and mass gaming segments. — Arra B. Francia