Okada Manila is on solid ground. According to a report by Fitch Ratings from last week, the Philippines-based resort “has good potential to establish itself as a leading integrated resort (IR).” The company further emphasized the “scale and high-end focus” of the resort as being contributing factors to its conclusion.
The IR, which is being led by Universal Entertainment Corp., received a “B+” rating by Fitch, in part based on Universal’s “strong market position” in the casino industry. The ratings company added that the ramp-up of the IR is “well under way” and that construction should be completed by the end of the third quarter next year.
The firm added that the Philippines should expect single-digit gross gaming revenue (GGR) growth next year, which will boost high-end casinos and junkets. It asserted, “As the largest IR in Entertainment City, the Okada Manila is well-positioned to benefit from these positive dynamics.”
Okada Manila is located in Entertainment City, an area in Manila designated as a casino zone. It was patterned after the Cotai district in Macau, which has been extremely successful, and now boasts of three casino resorts – City of Dream Manila, which is owned and operated by Melco Resorts and Entertainment, Okada Manila and the Solaire Resort and Casino, which is owned by Philippines-based Bloomberry Resorts.
Another resort could be in the works, as well. Westside City Resorts World is to be developed by Travellers International Hotel Group, Inc., a casino operator based out of the Philippines that was formed out of an alliance between Genting Hong Kong and Alliance Global Group.
Fitch emphasized in its report that the expansion plans of the IR are contingent upon growth in the high-roller and junket market segments. Universal Entertainment does not have a solid track record in the segment to allow it to compete directly with local or overseas rivals, which could be a hindrance to its growth.
An ongoing dispute between Universal and its founder, Kazuo Okada, could also be problematic for the IR. Okada has been attempting to regain control of the company after being ousted more than a year ago and the dispute is now being played out in the public forum.