After years of planning, development, and countless sleepless nights, the first of the four integrated resort casinos that will make up the Philippines’ Entertainment City is a day away from signaling the start of the country’s attempt to become the next elite gaming destination.
A lot of people have circled March 16 in their calendars for a long time and now that the day is upon us, Bloomberry Resorts will finally open the doors to its $1.2 billion resort casino, Solaire Manila.
It’s a long time coming and certainly came with a that was far from rosy. But through all the obstacles and distractions, the opening of Solaire Manila is the Philippines effectively telling the world that its ambitious Entertainment City project is now open for business. “What Solaire brings is an entertainment and gaming experience that doesn’t exist in the Philippines today,” Solaire COO Michael French told the Associated Press earlier this week.
“It will be like going to Las Vegas. This raises the scale, the excitement and the… glamour.”
With the excitement of Solaire Manila’s opening abundantly palpable in the air, there’s no question that the resort will offer the kind of amenities, entertainment, and gaming options that will signal the country’s serious intentions of becoming a premier gambling destination in the burgeoning Asian market. Solaire is the first of what will eventually be four integrated resorts that will rise over a giant chunk of prime, reclaimed land situated beside the world famous Manila Bay. Ultimately, these four resorts will dot the Manila skyline and elevate the landscape of Philippine gaming to levels never before seen in the country.
Cristino Naguiat, chief of Pagcor, the government-run gaming regulator that issued one of the four license to Bloomberry Resorts, is unapologetic about the enormous expectations being attached to Entertainment City. “We will beat Las Vegas. I’m pretty sure of that,” he told the AFP.
Naguiat points to the fast growing and lucrative Asian gaming market as one of the big reasons why the agency launched the ambitious Entertainment City project some years ago, pointing to the close proximity of countries like China, Japan, and Korea as an advantage that will supposedly net enormous revenue numbers for the country. With the opening of Solaire Manila and its 300 gaming tables and 1,200 slot machines, Naguiat expressed confidence that Philippine gaming revenue will rise to as much as $2 billion this year with an eye towards hitting $10 billion in annual gaming revenue once all four integrated resorts that make up Entertainment City are up and running.
That, however, is a discussion for another time because the next few days should be all about Solaire Manila.
It took years to build and it didn’t come easy, but when the resort casino officially opens its lights tomorrow, it’ll be a landmark achievement that will be talked about for years to come.
Welcome to the show, Solaire Manila. You have arrived.