Universal Entertainment Corp., Tokyo, revealed plans on Tuesday to invest US$2.3 billion in a hotel-casino mega-complex in Manila, Philippines.
Manila Bay Resorts is being built on a 40-acre (16.1-hectare) site and is planned to open in December 2013. It is being developed in partnership with Wynn Resorts Ltd., Paradise, Nevada. Universal Entertainment is the largest shareholder in Wynn Resorts. The mega-complex will feature a casino, hotel and residential areas. Construction began in June.
With an eye on the success seen by gaming hospitality companies in nearby Macau and Singapore, the target customer base will be mainland Chinese gamblers.
“A flight to Manila from Shanghai is but three and a half hours, and those from other major Asian cities take one and a half to two and a half hours less than flights to Singapore,” Universal Entertainment said in a press release. “Reinforcing this is the number of tourists visiting the Philippines from China in 2009, which grew 37% over the previous year due to the increased availability of direct flights.”
Since it was founded in 1969, Universal Entertainment has primarily concentrated its activities on the manufacturing of Pachislot and Pachinko gaming machines, from which 90% of its revenue is derived. Now the company is pivoting to focus on gaming hospitality.
“We will be expanding our casino business to be the number one business for our company,” said Kazuo Okada, Universal Entertainment chairman, who added that the company is looking at other casino projects in Asia in addition to Manila Bay Resorts.
The announcement comes just a week after Alliance Global Group Inc., Quezon City, Philippines, revealed that it is investing US$1.35 billion to expand the guestroom capacity of the Resorts World Manila and Resorts World Bayshore hotel-casinos.