Crown rolls the dice in new Manila venture - 2nd February
has overtaken Las Vegas as the worlds largest
gambling hub. Source: Supplied
HOLLYWOOD stars Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio
will be there in spirit at the opening of James Packers
newest casino in Manila today as Crown spreads its
two actors have taken part in a short film made by
director Martin Scorsese to promote the $US1.3 billion
($1.67bn) City of Dreams casino Packers
first Asian move outside Macau which will be
shown as part of the gala opening.
new up-market casino hotel complex in The Philippines
provides an important avenue for diversification for
the NASDAQ listed Melco Crown Entertainment which
has been focused on the former Portuguese colony of
Macau has overtaken Las Vegas as the worlds
largest gambling hub, with a turnover of $US45bn last
year, its future is clouded by concerns about the
slowing Chinese economy and President Xi Jinpings
crackdown on corruption which has seen a new restrictions
on mainland Chinese travelling to the city.
opening also comes as Crowns hopes to expand
into Sri Lanka have been squashed as a result of a
change of government and there are increasing questions
about its potential to enter the potentially lucrative
Japanese market which is still closed to foreign casino
Crown is also waiting to hear about its bid for a
casino licence in Brisbane while its $2bn casino project
at Barangaroo in Sydney is expected to open in 2019.
ASX-listed Crown has 33.6 per cent of Melco Crown
Entertainment, a joint venture between Packer and
his Hong Kong-based partner Lawrence Ho, son of Macaus
ageing casino billionaire Stanley Ho.
City of Dreams Manila, which is being built in connection
with Belle Corporation, owned by The Philippines
richest man, Henry Sy, is the second hotel/casino
to be opened in Entertainment City in Manila Bay,
a hotel/casino precinct which the country hopes will
challenge Singapore and Macau.
first, the smaller Solaire, owned by Philippines ports
tycoon Enrique Razon, was opened in 2013.
has described the City of Dreams Manila as being a
a bet on The Philippines and a bet on China.
Macau, where few locals gamble, the Manila casino
will be hoping to attract up-market locals as
well as high-rollers from China and other parts
Manila casino market turned over an estimated $US2.2bn
casino analyst Sudhir Kale, who is also a professor
of marketing at Bond University, estimates that Manilas
casino revenues could more than double to $US4.5bn
in the next three to four years as Entertainment City
takes off as an up-market gaming destination.
an interview with on Friday, Kale said that The Philippines
was also attractive for Packer and Ho as it had a
tax rate of only 15 per cent on gambling revenues
compared with the 39 per cent charged in Macau.
Philippines will be a smaller market than Macau but
it will be the fastest growing market in Asia over
the next four to five years, he said.
Philippines market could grow at a compound annual
rate of between 15 and 17 per cent whereas Macau might
only do eight to 10 per cent.
said that Packers financial investment in Manila
was much smaller than in Macau where Melco Crown owns
the $US1.5bn City of Dreams, on Macaus Cotai
Strip, a small casino called Altira, and is set to
open the $US3.2bn Hollywood inspired Studio City hotel,
gaming and entertainment complex nearby later this
said that the inclusion of several up-market hotels
such as the 260 room Crown Towers, the 321 room Nobu
Hotel and a Hyatt could provide significant non-gaming
Crown already has strong connections with Asian junket
operators who bring in the VIP gamblers.
mainland Chinese high rollers can gamble in nearby
Macau, Kale said that Manila provided another
option which could also become more attractive if
there was a crackdown on mainland Chinese gambling
players who dont want to be seen gambling in
Macau can go a bit further afield to Manila,
City of Dreams Manila will cater to both VIP and mass
market gamblers with 380 gaming tables, 1700 poker
machines and 1700 electronic table games.