CASINO

Universal Entertainment hints at possible Okada Manila opening delay

TAGs: Jasmine Solana, okada manila, Philippines, Steve Wolstenholme, Universal Entertainment

Despite the hype it built, it appears that casino resort Okada Manila is not yet ready to open before the year ends. Universal Entertainment hints at possible Okada Manila opening delay

Steve Wolstenholme, president of casino operator Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment, told Manila-based reporters several weeks ago that they have “completed around 85 percent” of the integrated resort’s first phase—just in time for the previously announced soft opening in November.

However, casino mogul Kazuo Okada’s Universal Entertainment Corporation revealed early this week that the still under-construction casino resort has fallen behind schedule due to “worse-than expected weather conditions.”

“Okada Manila has not markedly lagged behind the original plan although the progress has differed somewhat from the plan, affected by worse-than-expected weather conditions,” the Japan-based company said in a statement.

Initial plans for the $2.3 billion integrated resort, which was originally called Manila Bay Resorts, called for the casino property to be completed by March 31, 2015. But state regulator Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) approved in June 2015 allowed Tiger Resort to push back the completion of the project to December 2016.

The 44-hectare property, which underwent a name change in July, is scheduled to open its first phase in November, while the second phase is expected to follow soon. Wolstenholme said they plan to open all five phases of the project “in the next five years.”

Okada Manila is also eyeing to co-host the upcoming Miss Universe beauty pageant, as part of the broader plan to promote the new casino resort globally. But the delays in the development could put a damper on that plan.

“In view of policy actions by the Philippines government and the economic environment in the near-term, we are now in the process of carefully considering the optimal timing for opening the facility towards delivering maximized shareholder value. Therefore, once having completed revising the full-year guidance and considered the opening timing for Okada Manila, we will provide relevant disclosure in a timely manner,” Universal said.

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