MANILA, Philippines – In the next few years, the Philippines is expected to be at par with casino destination Las Vegas in terms of gaming industry revenues.
This was the prediction of real estate consulting firm CBRE Philippines at the November 20 press briefing, citing the upcoming casino and tourism complex called Entertainment City at the Manila Bay.
“In 5 years, the Philippines will challenge Macau and Las Vegas in casino revenues,” said Rick Santos, chairman and managing partner of CBRE Philippines.
Aside from the Philippines’ first large-scale casino complex, Resorts World Manila, which opened in 2010 and generating US$355 million in annual revenues, the $4-billion Entertainment City, which has local and foreign investors jumping into the casino bandwagon will put the Philippines in the world gambling map, he added.
Big-ticket foreign casino investors, including Macau’s Melco Crown Entertainment, Japanese tycoon Kazuo Okada’s Universal Entertainment, Malaysia’s Genting Bhd, and Las Vegas-based Global Gaming Asset Management (GGAM), are making their bets in the upcoming Manila project through partnerships with local firms.
According to Santos, the Philippines has remained the 3rd largest gaming destination in Asia along with Macau and China. However, the country’s gaming industry is expected to triple to $3 billion in terms of gross gaming revenues by 2015 once the Entertainment City is completed.
The deal between Henry Sy-led Belle and Macau’s Melco will also bring in an additional investment from Melco of “no more than $580 million over the course of the project.” Razon-led Bloomberry Investments, on the other hand, will open a $1.2-billion casino resort in 2013. Okada’s group wil invest $2 billion in a casino-hotel that will be completed by 2014.
The country’s location, being positioned only a few hours flight away from China, Japan and South Korea, where Asia’s biggest gamblers come from will boost the industry’s revenues.
The country’s favorable tax incentives compared to nearby Macau is another added attraction. In Macau, gaming tax is 40% with an additional 12% corporate tax added on top. In the Philippines, the mass-market tax is 25%, while the VIP tax aimed at high-spending foreigners is only 15%, Santos said.
As well as a casino, the complex will also include hotels, restaurants, museums, a marina and boardwalk and a monorail which will also boost the Philippine’s burgeoning luxury tourism market, said Santos. – Rappler.com
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