Philippine regulators have fined Japanese gaming device maker Universal Entertainment $2.2m over delays in completing its Manila casino project.
Universal, which is owned by billionaire Kazuo Okada, is constructing an integrated resort in Manila’s Entertainment City gaming zone through its Philippine subsidiary Tiger Resorts Leisure and Entertainment. However, the project has encountered numerous obstacles – including serious legal investigations – prompting Tiger execs to publicly express doubts about meeting their original March 2015 opening target, suggesting a late-2016 opening was more likely.
Last October, Philippine gaming regulator PAGCOR warned Tiger that failure to stick to its original timetable could result in forfeiture of Tiger’s Php 100m (US $2.2m) guarantee. This February, Tiger asked PAGCOR for a further extension to Q2 2017 to accommodate the project’s design changes. This request was rejected and Tiger was warned that their provisional casino license could face suspension as a result of the delay.
On Monday, Tiger’s project manager informed PAGCOR that the project was only 56% complete. Suitably annoyed, PAGCOR pulled the trigger, confiscating Tiger’s $2.2m guarantee. PAGCOR VP Francis P. Hernando told Reuters that Tiger had been given a 90-day period beginning April 21 to “explain why their license should not be suspended.”
Tiger’s Manila Bay Resorts is one of four projects slated for the Entertainment City zone .Two projects – Bloomberry Resorts’ Solaire Resort & Casino and Melco Crown Entertainment’s City of Dreams Manila – have already opened. The joint venture of Genting Group and Alliance Global Group plans to open Resorts World Bayshore in 2018.