MANILA, Philippines – Henry Sy-led Belle Grande and Macau Casino developer Melco Crown Entertainment branded their casino and entertainment complex City of Dreams Manila.
Scheduled to open mid-2014, the Manila integrated complex will be the second casino complex to carry the City of Dreams brand.
At the naming ceremony on Wednesday, October 9, Melco Crown Entertainment Chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho said the complex was patterned after the company’s flagship City of Dreams Macau.
The Manila project was previously referred to as Belle Grande Manila, which took off from Belle Corporation, a business unit of the business group of the Philippines richest, Henry Sy.
Ho, son of Macau gambling tycoon Stanley Ho and the partner of the Sys and Australian billionaire James Packer, said the sprawling complex will be world class as it carries a brand already highly successful in Macau.
“City of Dreams Manila will herald a new era of entertainment in Manila and will provide visitors with an exceptional world-class gaming and entertaining experience,” Ho told reporters.
Aside from announcing the new name of the complex, Melco Crown also said it has increased its budget from US$620 million to $680 million to finance its luxurious 260 Crown Towers hotel. (READ: Melco raises $377 M for casino project)
Melco Crown Philippines chairman Clarence Chung said the Phiippines is the 3rd city to have the Crown Towers brand. The 2 others are Crown Towers in Melbourne, Australia and Forbes Five Star Crown Towers hotel in Macau.
The City of Dreams Manila is also set to operate more gaming tables and electronic gaming machines after amendments to state-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation’s (Pagcor) regulations allowing a certain number gaming tables, junket tables and electronic gaming machines proportional to the number of hotel room at the casino resort.
City of Dreams Manila will have an estimated 365 gaming tables, 1,680 slot machines and 1,680 electronic games. These are more than the earlier anticipated 242 gaming tablets and 1,450 electronic gaming machines.
Attracting players and tourists
Ho said that given the Philippines’ strategic location, players from Macau, China and Hong Kong are expected to frequent the Manila casino.
“If you look at the location of Manila in the map, it’s directly in the middle of North Asia. We expect to have a strong client base originating from China, Hong Kong Macau and the region. We also expect players from Southeast Asia,” he added.
Aside from attracting high rollers to play in Manila, Ho stressed his firm will also work on marketing City of Dreams Manila as a vacation spot for families.
The complex is located within Pagcor’s landmark Entertainment City, which will boast of world class enterntainment, retail, food, beverage and hotel amenities.
“We are very encouraged and enthiusastic in the market here in Manila. There’s going to be a lot of fun things to do [in City of Dreams of Manila]. Whether you are a family person, a fun loving person, there’s going to be plenty of things to do,” he added.
Melco is one of the 4 groups that have a franchise to develop and operate casino and entertainment sites at the Entertainment City, which is expected to bring in high-end tourists and put the Philippines in the gambling map.
Genting also has a partner among the 4 groups: Andrew Tan-led Alliance Global Group Inc. The two groups will pour $1.2 billion to launch of Resorts World Bayshore at the Entertainment City project.
Genting and Alliance, through their joint venture partner Travellers International, have previously invested $800 million in Resorts World Manila, the country’s first integrated tourism entertainment complex near the Manila international airport. – Rappler.com