Gambling Extending its Reaches to Philippines

Resorts_World_ManilaManila is working now to become one of the world’s foremost casino hubs as they opened the second large scale resort in the city along the Philippine waterfront. The new resort is run by Macau casino operator Melco Crown Entertainment that also owns the other casino in the area. There are now two large scale casinos in the city putting it on the map as one of the foremost cities for gambling in the area.

Manila is looking to attract high rollers from areas in China. Previously, gamblers in China that wanted high stakes would go to Macau and other areas. It is the hopes of Manila and the government therein that those gamblers will shy away from centers like Macau in favor of smaller areas like Manila.

The city hopes to become a center like Las Vegas, Nevada and is halfway there with two of the four major casinos that are needed to achieve that standing. The bayside area was previously run down and now Julius Guevara, the country director for the Philippines real estate consultancy Colliers, says that there has already been increased interest in the area and that there are four casinos slated to be built in the area.

Along with the creation of the casinos and the over 5,000 jobs that have been a result of their being built, the casinos have also brought on a rash of building and improvement in the bayside areas. With new roads being laid to get to the casinos, new stores and hotels being built in the area, and more, the Casinos seem to have helped to improve the area and to revive the area that had previously been somewhat run down.

The projected profit of the gambling in the country is expected to be around $10 billion which would help to surpass the Las Vegas Strip and Singapore. This is so far just a projected profit and they are expected to be raking in $10 billion a year after ten years of growth and development. Entertainment City, what the cluster of casinos will be ultimately named, was largely inspired by the gambling Mecca that Macau has become. Macau raked in an impossibly large sum of $44 billion in gambling revenue alone last year.

So far, the Entertainment City complex, though located close to the airport has drawn more local gamblers than those high stakes gamblers that they expected. One reason this may be is the tension between Beijing and Manila over maritime territories that make it difficult to work out licensing and development in the city. Though Macau did report its first decline in gambling revenues in years, crack downs in China made it more likely that high rollers will shy away from gambling in favor of staying on the right side of the law.

Manila hopes to benefit from the decline in gambling in the city of Macau and so far it looks like that is a serious possibility. Chief Executive Lawrence Ho says that thought the casino does hope to draw foreign gamblers, the focus is first and foremost on the domestic market as well as those that come from South Korea to use the casino and hotel amenities. Another factor that will likely draw gamblers from Macau and other areas in China is that the taxes on gambling revenue is drastically lower in Manila that in Macau. In Macau, the taxes on large winnings are as high as 40% while in Manila they are only 15%.

There is no real way to gauge the overall, or even the potential success of the Entertainment City complex without having all four facilities built. The City of Dreams does have a lot of potential and can end up being a huge money maker for the city of Manila. With the first casino was up quickly and was profitable within a year, the other two resorts are taking a bit longer to get ready.

They are expected to be opened in 2016 or 2017. Not only does the CEO hope to have four casinos in the city of Manila, they also hope to expand and create casinos throughout Asia. They hope to use cross marketing and to help his customers to use multiple properties as opposed to one property each time.

Rising tourism makes the Philippines a perfect place for a new casino or a similar resort.  It will take some time to discover if Manila can become the next Macau but it certainly does look like it is a possibility.

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Jared Bates

I have been working in, and with different casinos for over twenty years, and as such I have seen many things happen to gambling online and offline. From Vegas to Atlantic City, and small places in between, my passion lies with games where I can win money.

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