Vaccination, int’l tourism to boost Solaire casinos
Ports and gaming tycoon Enrique Razon Jr. is banking on higher vaccination rates and looser international travel restrictions to bring his casino business back in the black.
The chair of Bloomberry Resorts Corp., the operator of Solaire Resort & Casino along Manila Bay, told stockholders on Thursday that business “remained stable” through the year despite continued losses.
By the end of 2021, Bloomberry reported a net loss of P4.2 billion, significantly lower compared to the P8.3 billion loss the previous year as operations suffered from strict pandemic lockdowns.
Gaming revenues also grew last year aided by the mass market segment, but the absence of foreign high-rollers due to “constantly changing travel restrictions across Asian jurisdictions” remained a drag on the lucrative VIP business.
“We operated with limited capacity to one degree or another throughout 2021. Recently, most restrictions have been lifted including travel restrictions, and only masks and vaccines are mandatory,” Razon told the company’s stockholders.
“If this environment continues, and other Asian countries start lifting their own inbound travel restrictions, then we will have a clear runway to ramp up to prepandemic levels,” he said.
Razon’s group played an instrumental role in importing millions of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to the Philippines.
This helped boost the rate of fully vaccinated Filipinos to over 60 percent, however, the country remained a laggard in administering booster shots.
“We look forward to the government further relaxing or even fully lifting COVID-19 restrictions later this year and the recovery of regional tourism,” Razon said.