According to a report published by the Philippine Star, the Philippines could soon have more City of Dreams (CoD) resorts, even if the country doesn’t want them. Willy Ocier, the chairman of Premium Leisure Corp., alluded to the fact in speaking to the Star after a meeting by that entity’s shareholder’s this past Monday. Premium Leisure is one of the primary backers of the CoD Manila resort, which is owned by Melco Resorts and Entertainment, Ltd.
Ocier stated, “The expansion of City of Dreams is being studied by our partners as well as ourselves,” adding, “We have not identified any location yet.”
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has called a halt to new casino construction, a moratorium that has been in place for over a year. The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), which oversees casino operations in the country, has tried to push for a partial lifting of the moratorium so that the country could receive fresh investments on casino operations, but Duterte has so far not changed his position and has stated that the moratorium will remain in place.
Premium Leisure, as a backer of CoD Manila, receives a cut of the venue’s gaming revenue. It enjoyed a 9.1% increase year-on-year in the first quarter of 2019, taking in around $13.9 million from the resort’s operations.
Premium Leisure is owned by Belle Corp., which leases the land and the facilities that make up CoD Manila to Melco. Those leases gave Belle Corp. $12.79 million in revenue during the first three months of the year. Belle Corp. has been trying to convince Melco to expand CoD Manila for the past several years, but has not yet succeeded. The company owns about 2.5 acres of land in front of the CoD Manila location that could be used for expansion.
CoD Manila is one of three resorts located in what is known as Entertainment City. Okada Manila, which is owned and operated by Tiger Resort, is one of the other venues and the Bloomberry Resorts-owned Solaire Resort and Casino is the other. Bloomberry has plans to build a second casino in Quezon City near Manila and has argued that the venue should be allowed because those plans predate Duterte’s moratorium. However, the company shouldn’t get its hopes up.