With the allure of the Philippines as a premier gambling destination in Asia now in full swing, a number of international operators are beginning to recognize the potential of the Philippine gaming market. Melco Crown, for one, has already inked a deal with the Henry Sy-led SM Group to build Belle Grande, the second of the four integrated casinos that will make up Entertainment City. The other two developers, Kazuo Okada’s Universal Entertainment and Genting Resorts, have also tied up with local companies to ensure they’re presence in the burgeoning Philippine gaming market.
One international operator, though, is not rushing to jump into the Philippine market: MGM China.
In a report by the Macau Post Daily, MGM China Chief Executive Officer Grand Bowie made it clear that the Macau-based Asian arm of MGM Resorts International is unlikely to expand into the Philippine at this time. Instead, the company is focusing all of its attention on the construction of its Cotai casino in Macau.
Although he stopped short of emphatically shutting the door closed on the possibility of a Philippine expansion in the future, Bowie explained that it made little sense to try and venturing out on new projects, especially considering that the Cotai project only broke ground earlier this month and full attention needs to be paid to the $2.6 billion project. Once completed, the casino is expected to offer as many as 1,600 hotel rooms, 500 gaming tables, and 2,500 slot machines.
Bowie also expressed no concern over the Philippines’ ambition of becoming a premier gaming destination by 2017, explaining that competition for Macau would be a good thing, at least enough to prevent it from sitting on its laurels as neighboring jurisdictions ramp up their efforts to catch up with the biggest gaming market in the world.
So while MGM China understands the potential of the Philippine gaming market, it’s holding off on any expansion plans, probably until after it completes its second integrated resort casino in Macau.
After that, well, you never know…