The Philippines and its Thriving Casino MarketSeptember 26, 2017 12:41 pm
Since the Philippines opened up its casino market to foreign companies in 2008, the sector has been growing exponentially and in 2016 the country’s gaming industry was worth an impressive $2.3 billion. Nevertheless, there are now rising concerns that the booming Asian gaming hub, second only to Macau and Singapore in terms of growth, may soon start suffering from overinvestment as investors seek out greater levels of profit.
In addition, Filipino billionaire Enrique Anselmo Klar Razon Jr, the CEO of Bloomberry Resorts, believes there is an even greater risk of existing casinos having their businesses cannibalized after state operated casinos are privatised in 2018. As Razon then explains:
“Cannibalization – it is always possible, over investment. With liquidity nowadays and (low) interest rates, people are making investments that 10 years ago (they) wouldn’t even think about, those kinds of returns.”
Razon, the third-richest person in the Philippines with an estimated wealth of around $4.4 billion, owns the $1.2 billion Solaire Resort & Casino on Manila Bay, which opened in 2013. Other huge casino projects also now completed in the Philippines includes casinos owned Philippine billionaire Henry Sy, Macau magnate Lawrence Ho, and Japanese businessman Kazuo Okada.
The largest owner of casinos in the Philippines, however, is the government-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) with more than 40 casinos, despite also being the country’s official gaming regulator. Razon said that his company Bloomberry Resorts would consider acquiring more venues when PAGCOR starts privatizing its casinos next year, and that it would also have the advantage over foreign investors for being already established in the Philippines.
“We are not the ones coming in creating the oversupply. It is tougher for the entrant…if Macau companies came to try to buy the licences, we would try to compete with them to buy the licences,” explained Razon.
In the meantime, Bloomberry Resorts is drawing up plans to build another casino in the most populated city in the Philippines, Quezon city, with construction work on the project expected to get underway in the second half of 2018.