The official opening for the City of Dreams Manila casino resort will be on February 2, the operator Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd has confirmed to GGRAsia by email.
The event is just prior to Lunar New Year, which falls this year on February 19. The festival is known in Greater China as Chinese New Year, and is a popular time for Chinese and other Asian people to visit casinos.
City of Dreams Manila had a soft launch for the local market on December 14. But the regional industry expects the official opening to coincide with a ramping up of a marketing campaign designed to attract some overseas high roller players to the property. Melco Crown must however share gaming revenue from the property with some local partners, but it will be entitled to retain all profits from non-gaming operations.
City of Dreams Manila is described in local media reports as a multi-phase scheme with a US$1.3 billion price tag. Melco Crown is a joint investor in the project alongside local partners including interests linked to the family of Filipino-Chinese businessman Henry Sy.
On Monday, Lawrence Ho Yau Lung, co-chairman of Melco Crown, said he was pleased with his company’s involvement in the Philippines venture.
“We’re very happy with Manila. When [other] people were not so positive on it, now Manila is turning out to be pretty great,” he stated. He didn’t give any numbers on either the gaming or non-gaming operations. The executive was speaking at a media event previewing the company’s US$3.2 billion Studio City resort in Macau likely to open in mid-2015.
In December, a report by credit rating service Standard & Poor’s forecast that in 2015 casino revenue in the Philippines would grow faster than the country’s economy.
In October the International Monetary Fund reduced its forecast for Philippine economic growth in 2015 to 6.3 percent, from the 6.5 percent expansion for 2015 it had estimated in July. It cited the backdrop of weaker global growth as the reason.
(Updated 9.30am Jan 15)
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”I believe it will take more than the offered concession term, 10 years, to see an appreciable increase in inflows of tourists [to Macau] from countries outside the existing tourist catchment areas”
Gaming and governance consultant at Newpage Consulting