Listed gaming firm Bloomberry Resorts Corp. will complete in November this year its US$ $500 million, Phase 1A, expansion to make it one of the world’s largest and the most comprehensive integrated resorts.
Operator of Solaire Resort & Casino along Manila Bay, Bloomberry –owned by billionaire Enrique K. Razon– will also add more hotel rooms and gaming areas.
At the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting last Thursday, officials said the plans include adding 1,500 more guestrooms and an events arena capable of accommodating up to 15,000 people.
They also intend to add about 100,000 square meters of additional MICE (meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions) and retail space as well as additional gaming facilities.
These will bring the complex’s inventory to 650 gaming tables and 3,000 electronic gaming machines.
Solaire currently has 500 hotel rooms, 300 gaming tables, 1,200 slot machines, and 6,000 square meters of premium VIP gaming salons.
Razon said the second phase of expansion would consist of three hotel towers and they plan to tap foreign brands to manage these hotels. He declined to disclose the cost of the expansion since the plans are still being made.
Phase 1A will add 312 suites to Solaire’s guest room mix, 223 slot machines and 65 VIP gaming tables, and non-gaming amenities such as more food and beverage offerings, a retail promenade anchored on 40 luxury brand shops, a 1,760-seat performance theater, a nightclub, KTV, whiskey bar, spa, gym, and salon.
A total of 10,000 sq.m. of gross retail tenant space will be added, showcasing international high-end and luxury brands “specifically selected with the gaming resort consumer in mind.”
Ayala Land, Inc., earlier announced that it will be managing a portion of the retail spaces in the Phase 1A expansion. The expansion will bring the complex’s total hotel rooms to 800.
Razon said the opening of Phase 1A is seen to increase the contribution of junket players to its gaming revenue to as high as 70 percent from the 51.1 percent in the first quarter of 2014 and 43.3 percent in 2013.
Bloomberry is also in talks with a potential Japanese partner for what could be the company’s maiden overseas venture, Razon said, apparently in anticipation of the planned liberalization of gaming in Japan.
Razon also said the company is studying opportunities elsewhere in Asia, particularly Macau, which may open application for new licenses in 2020.
In a statement to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Bloomberry reported that it has filed a case before the Supreme Court challenging the income tax being imposed on casinos by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
The petition questions the validity of the BIR ruling imposing income tax on licensees of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor).
The move comes after the private casino operators at the Pagcor Entertainment City have negotiated a temporary reduction of license fees with the Pagcor to help offset the income tax.
Pagcor has entered into an agreement with its Entertainment City Licensees for a 10 percent adjustment on license fees.
The agreement is seen to be a mutually beneficial and practical solution to address the additional exposure to corporate income tax.
Such solution not only preserves for the Philippine Government the financial benefits that it already derives from the Provisional Licenses, but also validates Pagcor’s commitment to uphold and abide by the terms of the Provisional License.