Philippines – Melco Crown says on track to open $1 bln Philippine casino by mid-2014

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Melco Crown (Philippines) Resorts Corp will build a 950-room hotel, open 240 tables and put up 1,250 slot machines in the integrated resort to compete with Bloomberry Resorts Corp’s $1.2 billion Solaire casino complex.

The Philippine unit of Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd is on track to open its $1 billion gaming complex in Manila by mid-2014, targeting not just Chinese gamblers but Southeast Asian high-rollers as well, its president said on Friday.

Melco Crown, run by Australian billionaire James Packer and the son of Macau gambling tycoon Stanley Ho, has teamed up with Philippine leisurefirm Belle Corp to develop and operate the resort in the 100 hectare Entertainment City gaming complex in Manila.

It is Melco Crown’s first casino outside Macau.

Melco will take advantage of its Macau “connections and VIP database” in promoting its Manila operations.

Industry regulator Philippine Amusement Gaming Corp (Pagcor) expects the country’s gaming industry to generate total revenue of $2.5 billion this year with the opening in March of Bloomberry’s Solaire.

By 2017, Pagcor sees annual revenue from gaming hitting $10 billion with all four casino resorts in Entertainment City up and running, surpassing the $6 billion markets boasted by Singapore and Las Vegas.

The biggest of the four projects is a $2 billion casino-hotel complex planned by a unit of Japan’s Universal Entertainment Corp.

A joint venture between Genting Hong Kong Ltd and Alliance Global Group has also been awarded a license to operate in Entertainment City.

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