BLOOMBERRY Resorts Corp. is targeting to open in March 2013 its flagship casino and hotel project within the massive Entertainment City complex, which officials during a briefing said will help put the Philippines on the map in terms of becoming a global tourism destination.
During Wednesday’s unveiling of the Solaire Resort and Casino project, executives of Bloomberry and operating partner Global Gaming Asset Management called Solaire an industry “game changer.”
Global Gaming president Bradley Stone said unlike many local casinos operating today, Solaire will focus on aggressively tapping the much more profitable “high-roller” market or the so-called very important people (VIP).
He said Solaire’s revenue mix is expected to “normalize” by 2014. By then, 55 percent of revenues will come from the mass market and 45 percent from VIP players, he said. “We are looking to ramp up the VIP business.”
To achieve this, Stone said the project will need to impress its clientele with a full range of services from the moment they land in the Philippines. He noted that Solaire can provide private jets for select clients, land them in a hangar owned by owner-businessman Enrique Razon Jr. and fly them to Solaire via helicopter.
“We are changing the quality of service, the level of the game around here,” Donato Almeda, Bloomberry director, said during the same briefing. “It’s about service and the quality of the product.”
Michael French, Bloomberry chief operating officer, said Entertainment City is not aiming to necessarily compete with Macau, which pulled in gaming revenues of $33.4 billion last year as against the Philippines’s $1.3-billion take. But instead, it may complement a market that may be turned off by higher taxes there or difficulty in accessing Macau directly.
“Macau will do $30 billion in VIP [revenues] this year. If we can do 6 percent or 7 percent of that with all properties open in 2016, operators and the country will have achieved a big success,” French said.
Officials cited figures from Innovation Group, which forecast that the Philippine gaming market can grow to $3.3 billion by 2015, largely driven by developments in Entertainment City.
The first phase of Solaire is opening at a yet to be determined date on March. It will comprise 500 hotel rooms, a 18,500-square meter casino, 15 dining options, and four “signature restaurants.”
The initial investment for phase one was pegged at $750 million. Bloomberry is working on an extension of Phase 1, which will offer upscale shopping, a 1,800-seat theater and a night club. It will also add an additional 300 hotel rooms, which will range from a 70-square-meter suite to a roughly 550-square-meter “chairman’s suite.” Stone said investments for the extension of Phase 1 should be “significantly in excess” of $250 million.
Bloomberry is developing roughly half of its 16-hectare site and has yet to finalize plans for future developments.
Solaire will be the first casino complex to open within the 120-hectare Entertainment City. Other licensees in Entertainment City include Belle Corp., Travellers International Hotel Group Inc. and Malaysia’s Genting Group, and Universal Entertainment.
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