Andrew Tan firm eyes Pagcor City casino opening in 2016

Katherine Visconti
Travellers may be the last of 4 casino operators to open in the Manila gaming hub

MANILA, Philippines – Tourism estate developer Travellers International Hotel Group expects to open its grand Resorts World Bayshore casino complex in state-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.’s Entertainment City by 2016.

Tina Garcia, head of the company’s Investor Relations, said the $1.1-billion project, which will be thrice the size of Resorts World Manila across NAIA Terminal 3, will be funded with internally generated cash.

“Site preparation” on the over 30-hectare property will start in the second half of 2012, Garcia noted.

“It will be at least 4 years before we can open,” she said on the sidelines of the Asian Development Bank’s annual meeting in Manila on Wednesday, May 2.

The potential 2016 opening means Travellers could be the last of the 4 currently approved operators to open a gaming and resort complex in Entertainment City on the Manila Bay reclamation area.

Razon-led Bloombery Resorts Corp. and Sy-controlled Belle Corp. both expect to open their hotel and casino projects in 2013, while Okada-led Universal Entertainment Corp. told Inquirer it was slated for completion by 2014.

More competition

Garcia is not worried about the entrance of new casino players.

“We welcome the competition,” she said. “You cannot say that the Philippines is a gaming destination if there is only Resorts World Manila. There has to be a lot of operators.”

Regional gaming expert Gabriel Chan, the director for non-Japan Asia gaming and lodging for Credit Suisse, agreed. 

“In gaming, supply creates demand,” he said.

Garcia also noted, “If you take the history of Macau, they were always thinking if one person was going to open, it would cannibalize the existing casinos… but Macau continued to grow.” 

Now Macau has overtaken Las Vegas in terms of gross gambling revenue. 

Double-digit growth 

Garcia pointed out that Travellers is still the only group in the country licensed to operate 2 casinos.

She said the company anticipates “meaningful double-digit growth” in 2012, adding that analysts estimate the local market will “grow to about $3.5 billion by 2015.”

Travellers is the joint venture of tycoon Andrew Tan’s investment holding firm, Alliance Global Group Inc., and Genting Hong Kong Ltd.

The company’s Resorts World Bayshore is expected to house at least 3,500 hotel rooms, versus the 1,200 hotel rooms of Resorts World Manila. The Entertainment City project will also be triple the size of the latter, which spans 10 hectares. –