Solaire reports booking cancellations after Resorts World attack
MANILA, Philippines – Solaire Resort and Casino reported some cancellations following the June 2 attack at Resorts World Manila, but expects things to "normalize soon" after the incident was deemed as a robbery attempt and not a terrorist attack.
Bloomberry Resorts Corporation chairman and chief executive officer Enrique Razon Jr told stockholders on Thursday, June 8, that Solaire lost 40 bookings made by individuals and junket groups, after a lone gunman fired shots and set ablaze parts of Resorts World Manila.
Bloomberry Resorts Corporation is the owner and operator of Solaire.
"We have had some cancellations, foreigners who backed out from coming here last Friday and Saturday (June 2 and 3), right after the attack. It should normalize soon now that it's clear it is robbery, not a terrorist attack," Razon told reporters on the sidelines of a stockholders' meeting in Pasay City on Thursday.
A total of 36 people died of suffocation inside the casino complex due to the fire. The gunman, former Department of Finance (DOF) employee Jessie Carlos, killed himself. (READ: Resorts World gunman: Gov't worker sacked for unexplained wealth)
Razon said the statement of the Philippine National Police (PNP) that the Resorts World incident was not an act of terrorism would help ease concerns over the attack.
He noted that the casino and resort industry is "extremely sensitive" to such incidents.
"It's extremely sensitive because it is a hospitality business. People have to be safe. You have to make sure they feel safe," Razon told reporters.
"Here in Entertainment City, we are very conscientious of our security. PNP has been meeting us regularly since the Davao bombing [in September 2016]. We have 17 K-9 teams sniffing out everything before patrons enter the property," he added.
Razon also disclosed that the Resorts World gunman played at Solaire in May 2016.
"[He was here] May of last year. I'm not sure if he won or lost. I'm just sure he was in the property. We have his picture," he said.
Razon also said Solaire has a responsible gaming program, which seeks to help gambling addicts like Carlos. (READ: Gambling addiction: How the Philippines prevents, handles 'problem gamers')
Solaire's program includes information dissemination, assistance to gaming members seeking professional help, and an exclusion procedure. Just like other casinos, Solaire has partnered with Life Change Recovery Center, a professional counseling and treatment facility for persons with psychiatric conditions, addictions, or psychological and/or behavioral problems.
"But some people are really addicted [to gaming]. Some ban themselves and then they still try to get in. They are really addicted," Razon said.
Growth for 2017
With Philippine authorities tagging the Resorts World incident as just an isolated case, Razon said he still expects continued growth for Solaire for the year.
"I think if it was a terrorist attack, it (the impact) would be significant. But since this is [just a case] of a lunatic guy, I think it will die down soon," Razon said.
The Bloomberry chief said Solaire will still push through with the Phase 2 expansion of the integrated casino.
This will include 3 hotels with 1,500 guestrooms, a 15,000-capacity event area, additional 100,000 square meters of MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) and retail space, 35 new food and beverage outlets, and gaming tables and electronic machines.
"Phase 2 is nothing but an empty lot for now. We have to design it according to what the market wants. It is still too early to tell. Absolutely expansion on gaming and hotel side. We are fully booked all the time," he told reporters.
Owing to increases in volume and revenue, Bloomberry swung back to profitability in 2016, earning P2.3 billion, a turnaround from the loss of P3.4 billion in 2015. (READ: PH tourism braces for impact of Resorts World Manila attack)
Its gross gaming revenue grew 19% to P38.5 billion in 2016, including Jeju Sun's conribution of P195 million. – Rappler.com
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