Philippines-based casino operator Bloomberry Resorts Corp confirmed in a Tuesday filing that it is considering expanding its operations not only to Japan, but also to Vietnam. The company however emphasised that any new venture abroad is still a long way ahead.
“Vietnam and Japan are just some of several prospective jurisdictions outside the Philippines that the corporation is looking at, but there is nothing definitive at this point,” Bloomberry said in the filing to the Philippine Stock Exchange.
Tuesday’s filing comes right after philSTAR.com published an interview with Enrique Razon (pictured), in which the Bloomberry chairman and chief executive said he was interested “in expanding his casino operations in the Asian region”.
Although the executive admitted Vietnam and Japan were among his targets, he added that any investment would depend “on these countries’ final regulation governing casinos and gaming”.
Bloomberry is one of several international gaming firms to have expressed interest in Japan. MGM Resorts International, Las Vegas Sands Corp and Genting Singapore Plc are among the operators mulling investments in that country.
The first stage of legalising casinos in Japan came into effect in December last year. A second piece of legislation called the Integrated Resorts (IR) Implementation Bill is likely to be discussed during the next regular session of Japan’s parliament in 2018, according to investment analysts. It will detail the specifics: how casinos are administered and regulated; the taxation regime to be applied to them; their location; and the number of licences to be issued.
Meanwhile, in Vietnam, locals over 21 years old and with a monthly income of at least VND10 million (US$440) will be allowed to gamble at selected domestic casinos starting December 1, for a trial three-year period, according to media reports quoting a new government decree.
Bloomberry is the owner and operator of the Solaire Resort and Casino in Manila, and also plans to build a casino resort at Quezon City, north of Metro Manila, with construction scheduled to start next year.
The company’s first venture overseas was the Jeju Sun Hotel and Casino on South Korea’s southern holiday island Jeju.
Mr Razon told philSTAR.com that he had changed his mind on the South Korean casino and decided to keep the business. “Jeju has improved. It’s close to breaking even,” he told the media outlet.
Bloomberry had announced last year that it planned to sell the Jeju venue for a total consideration of about US$100 million, but the deal fell through however as Bloomberry said the buyer did not have enough funds to complete the deal.
In the third quarter of 2017, Jeju Sun reported “its first ever positive quarterly EBITDA” – earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation – since it was acquired by Bloomberry in 2015.
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"The President [Rodrigo Duterte] had already decided and announced that no construction of a casino on Boracay will be allowed”
Secretary Eduardo Año
Officer-in-charge at the Philippine Department of Local and Interior Government