Philippine casino gross gaming revenue will grow by as much as 4 percent this year as new roads in the country’s capital will make the island nation’s entertainment center more accessible.
In a note it recently issued, Manila-based COL Financial Group predicts that the collective GGR of Resorts World Manila, Solaire Resort and Casino, and City of Dreams Manila will grow by as much as PHP91 billion (US$1.8 billion) in 2017.
The three integrated resorts posted total GGR of PHP87.3 billion (US$1.77 billion) in 2016.
COL Financial’s optimism is spurred by the infrastructure projects in Manila that the brokerage believe will help drive more foot traffic to the integrated casinos this year.
The 11.6-kilometer Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) elevated expressway has been completed which reduced travel time between Entertainment City and terminals 1, 2 and 3 of the airport.
“This will also provide a link between the Skyway and the Entertainment City, further improving access of the Entertainment City from the other parts of Metro Manila. Sections of the NAIA Expressway are already open,” COL financial said.
On the other hand, Resorts World Manila’s attractiveness as a destination for tourists is also expected to improve with the opening of Runway Manila, a bridge that will allow pedestrians to cross between NAIA terminal 3 and Newport City.
“This is also expected to improve foot traffic of Resorts World Manila as the said resort offers a wide range of entertainment and dining options for people travelling through NAIA Terminal 3. The pedestrian bridge is scheduled for completion in April of this year,” it said.
Aside from the improved infrastructure, the continuous influx of Chinese visitors to the country will help propel Manila casinos’ gaming revenues.
The brokerage firm pointed out that players from China are the biggest contributor of gaming revenues outside of the local market. Tourist arrivals in the first nine months of last year rose 12.1 percent, with visitors from China accounting for 34 percent of the growth.
“This is a big improvement compared to 2015 wherein arrivals from China grew by just 24.3 percent and accounted for just 18.2 percent of the total arrivals growth,” COL Financial said.
Melco Philippines loses “Crown”
Speaking of Manila casinos, Melco Crown Philippines Corp. has finally decided to relinquish its “Crown” as result of Crown Resorts Ltd.’s decision to reduce its own stake in Melco Crown Entertainment to 11.2 percent.
In a filing before the Philippine Stock Exchange, the operator of City of Dreams announced that it is changing its name to Melco Resorts and Entertainment (Philippines) Corp. The name change, however, is subject to regulatory approval.
The casino operator didn’t mention in its filing on whether it will also rename the Crown Towers Manila – a hotel in City of Dreams.
Melco’s rebranding was decided during Wednesday’s meeting, together with the resignation of Crown Resorts’ executive vice president for strategy and development Todd Nisbet in Melco Philippines.