Construction of the US$2-billion Manila Bay Resorts (pictured in a rendering) is on schedule and its first phase opening should take place late next year. Developer Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc, led by Japanese entrepreneur Kazuo Okada, is preparing to hire about 8,000 workers to staff the initial phase of its integrated casino project.
“We are still doing our utmost to be open by the end of 2015,” Matt Hurst, executive vice president of gaming operations and marketing for the under-construction Manila Bay Resorts, told GGRAsia.
The first phase of the casino resort will have about 500 gaming tables and 3,000 slot machines, Mr Hurst told local media. The property will also have two hotels managed by the company, nightclubs and restaurants. Phase two should see the retail area expanded to 70,000 square metres.
The casino operator is setting its sights on the international market, particularly Asian visitors. Aside from China, other important player markets will include Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, Mr Hurst recently told GGRAsia.
Manila Bay Resorts will be the third integrated resort at Entertainment City, under the four licences that have been granted by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor). The project however has been mired in regulatory and legal controversy for the past two years.
Pagcor requires Mr Okada to have a local partner before it can open its integrated resort. Under the country’s constitution and public land laws, only Filipinos, or entities owned at least 60 percent by Filipino citizens, are allowed to own land, thus restricting Mr Okada or his majority-owned companies to just 40 percent ownership
The Japanese billionaire is locked in a court dispute with Philippine-based Century Properties Group Inc over the termination of an agreement that allowed the latter company to build luxury residential and retail developments in the 44-hectare (109-acre) project.
The local developer said earlier this month it would be willing to resume talks about a tie-up if the terms of the original agreement would be retained.
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