PH gambling business seen comparable to Vegas in a few years


LAS VEGAS-LIKE A scale model of the rising Entertainment City Manila, simply known as Pagcor City, a Las Vegas-like gaming and entertainment complex.

MANILA, Philippines—Macau casino magnate Lawrence Ho has no doubt that the Philippine gaming industry could be as big as Las Vegas or Singapore’s in the next five to six years.

The son of casino tycoon Stanley Ho arrived in Manila on Friday along with Australian business partner billionaire James Packer  to sign a gaming cooperation deal with the SM group and leisure estate unit Belle Corp.

Citing the “clustering” effect of gaming hubs being developed at Pagcor City, the co-chair and chief executive officer of Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. said the Philippine gaming market had the potential to grow quite significantly, citing analysts’ consensus that gaming revenues in the Philippines could hit $3 billion by 2015 with the opening of its hub alongside those of Solaire, Resorts World and the existing operations of state-controlled Philippine Amusement & Gaming Corp.

“If you extrapolate that farther down the road, the Philippines, in five to six years could be the size of Las Vegas or Singapore which is about $6 billion (gaming revenues),” Ho said.

Moving forward, Ho said, Macau would continue to be his group’s hub.

“But it says something that Manila is the first (site) outside (Macau) jurisdiction that Melco Crown is pursuing in Asia, so we think the time is right and the market potential is excellent,” he said.  He added that growing the business in the Philippines would be Melco Crown’s focus in the next few years.

Ho and Packer’s Melco group is investing at least $600 million in this entertainment complex. This does not include the investment to be made by the SM group.  The construction of the facility, which is set to open in a year, is anticipated to cost at least $1 billion.

He said there will be some modifications to the masterplan that was drawn up prior to his group’s entry.  Especially after seeing Solaire Manila, the first facility to open in the area, he said his group would be “motivated” to make modifications.

Attacting foreign tourists is likewise the group’s goal instead of relying on local business, Ho said, adding that once the Philippines’ infrastructure base was improved over the years to allow easier travel to and from Metro Manila, this would grow foreign tourist arrivals.

Ho said the future hub in Manila won’t gnaw at the operations of the flagship hub in Macau.  While the new complex will contain the resort and entertainment flavor of the Macau hub, the Philippine complex will be more “family-oriented” and gear toward offering long-term vacations.

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  • manufacturer2

    All the pluses in the world cannot overcome the minuses of having
    a gambling haven.

  • go88

    nice … Malaysia has world-class semi-conductor manufacturing plants and produces MIG 29 fighter jets, thailand has an advanced food processing industry, our industry will be vice ….. it’s more fun in the Philippines.

  • JanofVA

    Well there are plus and minuses to this…plus is, thousands of Filipinos will be employed and be able to feed their families…there are a lot of jobs in gaming..from food to dealers, to security, to hotel attendants..but there are also minuses, gambling addiction, prostitution, corruptions….I guess there are places like Macau that have made it from gambling profits..I hope the Philippines will be the same way.

    • tuldok

      Addiction. pokpoks, 5-6 and other types of loansharking, broken families due to irresponsible gamblers, robberies and thefts, collusions/cheatings/corruption by some employees, at marami pang iba.

  • parefrank

    Oh yes, gambling is what RP needs. It will improve life and future of the poor millions. How? All they need is one year no more eating and with the saved money play in the casinos, and at least one of a million will win and become a millionaire.
    Ah, you mean they can not survive one year without eating? But is that the problem of the gambling industry?
    And there is even another chance. All OFW families have to use 20% of their remittances for gambling and have a better chance to win. Again you say that the families would suffer problems with their less money?
    Maybe, but at least the gaming industry would report big profits and the administration could claim it as “economic improvement and proof of its good governing. Is this not worth a few hundredthousand hungry OFW families?

    • kismaytami

      Kaya pala ini-improve ang mga kalsada mula NAIA patungong gambling (enterntainment) city, cornered na kaagad ang $$$ ng mga OFWs pag-uwi.

    • barcelona03

      Whats your solution, pare?

    • Handiong

      No, the poor will stick with jueteng and lotto.

    • Josh Singson

      if that’s the case i wonder why the Americans living in Las Vegas still living a better life…

    • Sandy Bulet

      Hahaha…Don’t blame the government kung bakit maraming addict o naadict
      sa sugal, we all have a choice, kung pinili mong maging addict hindi yan kasalanan ng government. Sa mga ganitong pagkakataon, suriin natin ang ating mga sarili, sapat ba ang kabutihan o matibay ba ang pundasyon na naiambag sa atin ng ating pamilya upang pagtibayin ang ating moralidad? Tayo ang gumagawa ng ating kapalaran, kung anuman ang kahihinatnan ng ating buhay, tayo ang may kasalanan. Wag nating ibato ang putik na tayo ang pumulot para lang dumihan ang iba. Palawakin ang pag iisip ok?

      • juanpedro de jose

        kung malawak ang isip mo! anu ba ang purpose ng goverment?

    • efriend

      Prophet of doom. The PHL doesn’t need negative citizens like you.

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