The huge Manila Bay Resorts hotel and casino complex is still right on track for a 2015 launch, despite the difficulties encountered by the project’s father, Kazuo Okada. Okada may have run afoul of the Philippines gambling law that prohibits foreign nationals from owning the majority of the country’s casinos.
The magnate had set up several companies, each with a Filipino in charge, to rule the roost over the Manila Bay Resorts project, but the government allegedly saw through the ruse. Should the casino giant somehow escape punishment – and be sure his lawyers are working overtime making sure of it – then the biggest resort in the Philippines will surely go ahead without a hitch.
With online casinos in the Philippines perfectly legal, too, the country is looking to challenge Macau as the hub of Asian gambling, as the region gears up for an almighty squabble over their gambling mad high rollers.
China seems unwilling or unlikely to budge over their gambling ban – outside of Macau, of course – but other countries are looking into the potential income from new casinos and licking their lips. While mobile casinos may have taken off big time in Europe, Asian high rollers are seen as the major source of gambling income in the Far East, and they prefer land-based resorts.
As such, Russia – close to Vladivostok in Primorye, Far East Russia – Japan, and now the Philippines are readying themselves to challenge for Macau’s crown. Incidentally, this crown has been well and truly wrested away from Las Vegas by the Chinese city-state. With Japan likely to go live before the Olympics of 2020, and Russia accelerating, the Manila Bay Resorts will need to open soon if it wants to have a head start on its rivals.