Kazuo Okada’s Manila Bay Resorts on schedule in its construction, but whether it opens on time is another matter entirely.
That appears to be where its going unless Okada can resolve all the allegations that are being thrown his way by the Philippine government. According to Francis Hernando, Pagcor vice president for gaming license and development at Pagcor, Okada’s casino license may be put on hold until all their pending cases in the country are resolved.
That’s a pretty big deal if Manila Bay Resorts is completed and it can’t open its casinos. That’s like a Starbucks opening and not being able to serve coffee. But such is the predicament Okada and Universal Entertainment have found themselves after getting embroiled in allegations of violating the Philippines’ anti-dummy law.
“We have sent them a notice that we will not allow them to start casino operation until all their pending cases are resolved,” Hernando recently told a House committee on games and amusement. But despite all the warnings Pagcor has issued to Okada and Tiger Resorts, the Philippine subsidiary of Universal, the latter remains firm on its commitment to finish construction on schedule with an eye towards opening the joint late next year.
That in itself could be a problem, too, something a local congressman pointed out during the committee hearing. “They might use that against you,” Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. of Dasmariñas City in Cavite told Pagcor. “If you do not allow them to open, they will go after Pagcor and they might even claim reimbursement for what they have spent.”
The congressman expressed concern that if Pagcor continues to let Okada build his integrated resort and casino in the country, he would be empowered to open his casino despite Pagcor’s warnings. Hernando, however, doused those concerns, assuring Philippine lawmakers that Pagcor will act on stopping construction of the resort if its warnings to Okada aren’t taken with the seriousness it deserves.