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Razon group to enter Japan casino market once legalized

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Bloomberry Resorts, owner of Solaire casino in Manila, eyes to put up a venture in Japan once gambling is legalized in said country

MORE ROOMS. Solaire casino and resort is expanding to cater to a fast-growing gaming client base. File photo by Aya Lowe/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Bloomberry Resorts Corporation, the gaming firm owned by ports magnate Enrique Razon Jr., is considering putting up a casino resort in Japan once gambling is legalized in the country.

“Japan has a gaming law in the parliament that they are looking to pass. Of course that is market that we would be very, very much interested in,” Razon said on the sidelines of a Euromoney conference held at Bloomberry’s Solaire Resorts and Casino.

Depending on the final structure of the law, Razon said the company may no longer need to find a partner for this overseas venture. “We’ll be flexible. We have to wait for the law to pass.”

Lawmakers from Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party submitted a bill to the parliament, seeking to legalize casinos in the country.

Once opened up, Japan is estimated to become the world’s second-largest gaming market that global gaming companies like Wynn Resorts have long eyed.

Razon said Bloomberry will only proceed with its overseas plans after all developments in Solaire are completed.

The expansion of Solaire is underway and just last week, Bloomberry signed an P11-billion loan facility to fund it.

The expansion will add 200,000 square meters of retail and hotel developments, VIP gaming space and parking in the casino resort.

Razon said at present, foot traffic in Solaire averages 11,000 during weekdays and 16,000 during weekends.

The US$1.2-billion Solaire is the first of 4 casino resorts to open in the Entertainment City of state-run gaming regulator Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor).

In the same conference, Pagcor chief Cristiano Naguiat said he expects the Philippines to post gaming revenues of $6 billion to $7 billion over the next 5 years, surpassing Singapore and Las Vegas.

In 2013, Pagcor said local gaming revenues reached $2.2 billion.

“We are looking at double-digit growth for 2014 and in 5 years, Philippine gaming revenues will be comparable, if not will surpass Singapore’s gaming industry with $6 billion to $7 billion, which will also be higher than Las Vegas. That is a conservative estimate,” Naguiat said. –

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