Gambling sources in the Philippines confirmed that Bloomberry Resorts’ Solaire Resort and Casino would open its gates as planned in March 2013.
Solaire is the first to open among the four gaming operations planned for Manila’s Entertainment City. The resort’s first phase will see the completion of a 500-room five-star luxury hotel with 15 dining options featuring four signature restaurants. The 18,500-square-meter gaming floor will feature not less than 1,200 slots, 300 gaming tables as well as numerous VIP salons.
Solaire’s first phase is estimated to cost around $750 million. The extension of 300 more hotel rooms, retail operations, a night club, and an in-house theater is calculated to increase the budget by another $250 million in 2014.
Casino awaits Philippine VIPs playing baccarat
The fight is big for Asian VIP gamblers. The Asian Pacific region is home to several billionaire high rollers as well as a legion of millionaires who list gambling as one of their favorite hobbies. Analysts say that a successful Solaire operation might be able to seduce up to 6-7% of Macau’s gambling market in 2013.
Philippine gambling laws put a tax of 15% on gaming foreigners, whereas the levy is a hefty 39% in Macau. The lower tax rate should allow Philippine operators, like Solaire, offer more tempting rebates for junkets and junket organizers.
Solaire counts with a five to ten thousand foot traffic on an average day. According to the operator, the casino estimates its revenue to be made up of 55% premium mass market and high profile local gamblers, and 45% VIPs from all over the world.
Enrique Razon Jr., Bloomberry boss and third richest man in the Philippines, is happy to let his hangar for the service of incoming private jets. Transport by helicopters to Solaire is also offered to VIP visitors.
However, there are some dark clouds over Manila. Baccarat, by far the most popular game among VIPs, showed a decrease for three sequential quarters. Also, Macau’s VIP revenue dropped under 70% the first time in three years. At the same time, poker is gaining popularity in the Asian Pacific region. This fact is not sure to boost the VIP market, as most Filipino poker players favor smaller wagers.