Japanese entrepreneur Kazuo Okada (pictured) is to brand as ‘Okada Manila’ his under-construction casino property in Manila, the Philippines, from the previously mentioned title ‘Manila Bay Resorts’, it was announced at a press event in Manila on Tuesday.
Mr Okada – a former business partner of Macau casino investor Steve Wynn – wants his casino property “to compete with what is in Macau,” reported Bloomberg News, quoting Takahiro Usui, chief operating officer at Mr Okada’s Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc. The property will feature a 100-metre (328-foot) dancing water fountain and indoor beach, according to the report.
A local business partner of Mr Okada indicated during the press event that there might be a listing for the casino venture within two years, separately reported the Standard newspaper.
Following the event, some Philippines media outlets also reported that there was a plan to have a ‘soft’ opening in November for the property.
Steve Wolstenholme, the president of Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment, was directly quoted by the Philippine Star newspaper as saying at the press event simply: “We will be opening before the end of the year.”
On the sidelines of the event, local businessman Antonio Cojuangco – Mr Okada’s joint venture partner in developing the 44-hectare (109-acre) Okada Manila – said the Japanese businessman is also interested in developing resorts and golf courses in other parts of the Philippines.
He added that Mr Okada was initially looking at Palawan as a possible site for resort development, as well as Davao, which is the power base of the country’s new president, Rodrigo Duterte.
“Mr Okada wants [a] total entertainment package for the whole family. So aside from [a] hotel and its features, he is also going to be developing resorts in islands, [and] golf courses in the country,” Mr Cojuangco said, as quoted by the Standard newspaper.
The opening date for the now-titled Okada Manila has been a point of some tension between the developer and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), the country’s gaming regulator.
In May last year the Philippine gaming regulator announced it had confiscated a PHP100-million (US$2.2 million) guarantee payment from Tiger Resort, citing delays in the project.
Under the original plan, the casino resort scheme – originally slated as a US$2.3 billion venture – should have been completed by March 31, 2015. But the regulator approved in June 2015 to a new timetable that pushed back the completion of of the property to December 31, 2016.
The Philippine Star newspaper reported on Wednesday that Okada Manila is to have more than 500 table games and more than 3,000 electronic gaming machines.
The news outlet added that phase one will have 993 hotel rooms and a 8,361-sq-metre entertainment venue. Okada Manila will have two wings – named respectively Pearl and Coral, each of 15 floors.
Mr Usui was indirectly quoted by Bloomberg News as saying the Manila resort could cost US$3 billion in its first phase and reach US$4 billion when three more phases are built, making it Mr Okada’s “biggest investment”.
“This project will promote Manila as a destination in the region and the world,” Bloomberg additionally reported Mr Usui as saying.
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”We expect Okada [Manila] to add US$1.2 billion of GGR by 2019 to the overall market, capturing 32 percent market share”
Alex Poon and Praveen Choudhary
Analysts at Morgan Stanley