$2b Philippines Casino Construction begins
The long-anticipated construction has begun on a new Manila casino in the Philippines. This project is budgeted for $2 billion, and it’s the brainchild of Japanese casino magnate Kazuo Okada and his company, Universal Entertainment Corporation. $1 billion of the money is being put up by Universal, while the other $1b is coming from creditors.
As for the specifics of the casino, the target completion date is set for 2014, and it will span 110-acres when finished. Additionally, there will be three hotel towers, an artificial domed beach, and a convention center. Government officials expect that the casino will provide over 15,000 jobs for the Manila area.
An even bigger expectation by the Philippines government is that this $2 billion casino could provide the foundation for a future area much like the Las Vegas Strip. Other companies that have been accepted to build casinos in the area include Bloomberry Resorts Inc., Belle Corp. and a partnership between Genting Hong Kong Ltd. and Alliance Global Group Inc.
Cristino Naguiat, who is the gambling regulator head at the Philippine Amusement & Gaming Corp., put an exclamation on this ambitious plan by saying, “In five years, we will beat Las Vegas.” The Philippines’ biggest casino company, Pagcor, predicts that the Manila area could generate around $11 billion in annual revenue, which would be almost double what Las Vegas casinos made in 2011 ($6b).
Back to the present, the original starting block of the plan in the Universal Entertainment Corp. casino still has some hurdles to clear. Okada is currently locked in a battle with his business partner Steve Wynn over being denied the opportunity to see company financial records. Popular speculation is that Okada wants access to the records so he can use his Wynn shares to further invest in the Manila project.
Fortunately, this doesn’t appear to be halting production on the Philippines casino at the moment.