Japanese gaming company Universal Entertainment Corp says preliminary figures show that the Okada Manila casino resort (pictured) in the Philippines recorded gross gaming revenue (GGR) of nearly PHP3.30 billion (US$63.7 million) in March, up 67.9 percent from the prior-year period.
A Philippine subsidiary of Universal Entertainment, called Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc, runs Okada Manila.
The latest monthly result puts the property’s accumulated GGR at approximately PHP9.52 billion for the first quarter of 2019, up by 91.0 percent compared with PHP4.98 billion a year earlier.
In a Friday filing about the March operating numbers for Okada Manila, Universal Entertainment also gave some commentary regarding the month-on-month improvement compared to February. It said this was “primarily due to a recovery in both domestic and international players following the Chinese New Year holidays, resulting in increased volumes in VIP rolling, mass-table drop and gaming machine handle”.
The firm added: “Also during March a new VIP junket was added, resulting in an increase in volume of VIP rolling.”
This year’s Chinese New Year festive period ran from Monday, February 4 until Sunday February, 10 inclusive. The week-long holiday is usually a peak tourism season in the Asia-Pacific region and further afield as a large number of mainland Chinese take advantage of the week-long break to travel outside mainland China. Investment analysts however have noted in previous commentary that many high rollers prefer to stay away from gaming destinations during this festive period, usually returning after it ends.
March GGR results for Okada Manila included VIP revenue of PHP1.67 billion, compared to PHP944 million in the prior-year period. VIP revenue for last month was up nearly 73 percent from February, showed the data published on Friday.
Mass-market table GGR rose by 51.0 percent year-on-year, to PHP714 million in March. Gaming machine revenue stood at PHP911 million last month, up 66.8 percent from March 2018.
Universal Entertainment said in Friday’s filing that Okada Manila’s adjusted segmental earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for March was PHP509 million. That compares with PHP139 million in the prior-year period. First-quarter adjusted segmental EBITDA stood at almost PHP1.52 billion, compared with PHP40 million in the first three months of 2018.
Okada Manila has been ramping up its casino business – posting US$522-million in casino GGR last year – against the background of the general expansion in Philippine casino market GGR. The property recorded adjusted segmental EBITDA of PHP2.14 billion in full-year 2018.
The promoters of Okada Manila said in February that they are actively considering rebranding the property. The announcement followed the acquisition of the majority of shares of Philippine-listed company Asiabest Group International Inc.
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”China has been strengthening the control over capital flow, and the impact of that has already been reflected [on Macau’s gaming revenue trend]. There should not be any bigger impact from the new… legislation [on the mainland] … on the gaming revenue trend here”
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President of Macau casino operator Sands China