A new Manila casino resort (pictured in an artist’s rendering) at the Westside City Project is likely to launch in 2022 at year-end, followed by a “grand opening” of the rest of the resort property in 2023, said on Thursday, Suncity Group Holdings Ltd, in response to an enquiry from GGRAsia.
In June, the firm had mentioned that the main casino hotel of the Westside City Project was “expected to be in operation in the fourth quarter 2022”.
“Whilst we are confident that we could stick to the grand opening schedule of Westside City Project in 2023, we would like to open the doors of the casino floor as early as possible, targeting 2022 year-end,” a spokesperson said in the emailed response to GGRAsia.
Hong Kong-listed Suncity Group Holdings, controlled by Macau casino junket boss Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, is a key backer of the Manila project’s developer, Suntrust Home Developers Inc.
Piling work for the Westside City Project had been “disrupted” in June, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and had “just” been restarted, Suncity Group Holdings noted in its Thursday statement. In the firm’s annual report, filed in June, Mr Chau had mentioned that ground breaking work was to happen “soon”.
The firm’s Thursday reply implied that Mr Chau had not been able personally to witness any early work on the project, due to the pandemic.
“No one” had been able to fly in from overseas, “under current visa and flight status,” and “neither could our chairman Mr Chau,” said the spokesperson.
According to a June press release from Suncity Group Holdings, the casino hotel portion of the Westside City Project would have a total gross floor area of at least 182,000 square metres (about 1.96 million sq feet). The initial plan includes total gaming capacity of 400 tables to serve the VIP and mass markets, and 1,200 slot machines. It also features 400 five-star hotel rooms, a car park, and “non-gaming facilities themed around pool-side parties featuring a high-end pool club,” according to previous company filings.
The Westside City Project is located in Entertainment City, a 120-hectare (297-acre) parcel of reclaimed land in Metro Manila. Entertainment City as a whole is being marketed by the Philippine authorities as a casino cluster meant to emulate the success of Macau’s Cotai district.
Suncity Group Holdings also has an investment in the newly-developed Hoiana casino resort in Vietnam, which started a “preview” period – including for casino operations – in late June. The listed Suncity entity also has an interest – via a stake in another Hong Kong-listed firm, Summit Ascent Holdings Ltd – in the Tigre de Cristal casino resort in the Russian Far East.
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