Casinos remain upbeat on Philippine gaming industry prospects

TAGs: Casino operators, city of dreams manila, Jasmine Solana, Kevin Sim, Philippines, travellers international

The gaming industry in the Philippines is “doing well,” at least in the eyes of casino operators.

The local casino industry has been beset with challenges, particularly with the Chinese government’s crackdown on illegal gambling that has affected gaming revenues in the entire region. Still, casino operators in the Philippines are bullish on their prospects for the remainder of the year.

Casinos remain upbeat on Philippine gaming industry prospectsIn an interview with Philippine Star, City of Dreams Manila COO Kevin Sim said they are “confident” that the newly-opened casino resort will “expand across all segments.”

“Despite being open only a few months, City of Dreams leads the Philippine market in visitation rates,” Sim said, according to the report.

Willy Ocier, vice chair of Belle Corporation, previously said that “the second half of 2015 will be strong. COD just started VIP operations in July 2015.”

City of Dreams Manila, a joint venture between Melco Crown Entertainment and Belle Corporation, has not had a good year. The integrated resort reported a revenue of $75 million and earnings of $12.5 million in its first full quarter of operations. This prompted the casino to trim its manpower, letting go temporarily of close to 2 percent of its total manpower as part of cost rationalization.

The layoffs have caught the eye of Philippine Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, who called for an investigation in fears that Melco Crown is “setting a precedent for other employers and business owners to suspend workers when convenient, with utter disregard for these workers’ rights.”

Charisse Chuidian, City of Dreams Manila’s vice president for public relations, told that they are deferring their comment on the issue because they “don’t want to pre-empt” the inquiry and also “to be sensitive about it.”

Meanwhile, Travellers International Hotel Group, which operates the Resorts World Manila, also remains positive about the state of the local gambling industry.

Owen Cammayo, director for corporate communications at Resorts World, told Philippine Star they are focusing on “concrete and aggressive expansion plans in the next five years.”

Cammayo said the resort will offer a “more holistic customer experience” as it strengthens its integrated offerings, according to the report.

Through its website, the casino operator said it will increase its hotel capacity from the existing 1,226 rooms to about 4,200 rooms in the next four years, with the ongoing expansions of Marriott and Maxim hotels, and the development of several new hotels, including Hilton Manila Hotel, Sheraton Hotel Manila, and Belmont Hotel.

Travellers is hoping to reach the 3 million mark for its Resorts World Manila gaming base. COO Stephen Reilly recently said, “We have 2.7 million members for Resorts World. It was very clear that we had to expand through our database.”

The casino operator posted a net profit of P2.4 billion ($51.39 million) on gross revenue of P14.2 billion ($304. 1 million) for the first half of 2015. Gaming revenues contributed P12.5 billion ($267.7 million) of gross revenues, while hotel, food and beverage, and other revenues contributed P1.2 billion ($25.7 million), which is a 4.2 percent increase from the same period last year.


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