The City of Dreams Manila casino resort (pictured), in the Philippines, is said to have “suspended” 100 workers as a cost-cutting measure.
Reuters news agency on Tuesday quoted Charisse Chuidian, vice president for public relations at City of Dreams Manila, citing the number of employees affected and saying it represented about 2 percent of the resort’s workforce. The report quoted Ms Chuidian directly, saying that “employment of the affected employees will resume when business improves”.
GGRAsia approached the parent firm – which is also one of Macau’s six gaming concessionaires – for clarification on the terms of the Manila workers’ suspension, and what business improvement might trigger a “resumption” of their employment. No replies to those questions had been received at the time this story went online.
On Friday, Melco Crown (Philippines) Resorts Corp, operator of City of Dreams Manila, reported its second quarter results. They showed that the Philippines unit’s consolidated comprehensive loss for the three months ended June 30 had widened by 27 percent from the prior-year period, to PHP1.82 billion (US$39.6 million). Melco Crown Philippines said the increase was attributed to items including gaming tax and licence fees, and expenses associated with opening the City of Dreams Manila venue. It added that such costs and other costs were “partially offset by operating revenues generated during the current quarter”.
City of Dreams Manila’s casino revenues for the second quarter were approximately PHP2.90 billion, with no prior-year comparison.
The parent Melco Crown Entertainment said in commentary accompanying the whole group’s second quarter earnings – published on August 6 – that group wide it was implementing US$50 million of annualised cost savings into the second half of 2015, mostly relating to staff, marketing and central costs. That day it had announced that group net income had fallen by 83 percent in the second quarter, weighed down by the market-wide gaming revenue declines seen in Macau.
Analyst Christopher Jones of Union Gaming Research LCC had noted nonetheless that City of Dreams Manila’s quarterly earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation had beaten Wall Street estimates, adding that rolling chip volumes in July had been two-and-a-half times higher than in June.
As of June 30, City of Dreams Manila was operating 272 gaming tables, 1,588 slot machines and 130 electronic table games, said Friday’s filing by the Philippines unit.
Analysts at brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd in Hong Kong noted on Monday in a bulletin to investors that some recent initiatives by the Chinese government had the potential to affect the flow of Chinese gamblers to the Philippines and South Korea. The institution said it included a “crackdown” in China on agents that helped channel mainland Chinese gamblers to foreign casinos. The brokerage added that “tour agencies that help gamblers apply for foreign visas” were also being targeted.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China