Okada secures license, starts casino operations
Okada Manila, the country’s largest integrated casino and resort, said it will officially commence its casino operations today, after securing a provisional casino license from regulator Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.
Okada Manila said in a statement the grand opening would also take place by the end of February 2017.
“Okada Manila will continue its preview period by officially launching casino operations on Dec. 30 at 7 p.m,, local time. This follows the approval and issuance of a notice to commence casino operations from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. on Dec. 21,” Okada Manila said in a statement Thursday.
“As Okada Manila’s preview period continues, the opening of the hotel and additional restaurants will be announced in the coming weeks with the grand opening taking place end of February 2017,” it said.
The $2.4-billion Okada Manila is being developed by Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc., the Philippine subsidiary of Universal Entertainment owned by Japanese gaming and pachinko mogul Kazuo Okada.
Okada said Wednesday he hoped to make the Philippines “the next Hawaii” as he looks to expand his business there.
In addition to Manila, Okada said he was also exploring the possibility of operating resorts on the Philippine islands of Palawan and Boracay, both major tourist attractions, in a bid to tap the lucrative Chinese market.
“I would like to make the Philippines the next Hawaii, given that there are a lot of great beaches here,” he told ABS-CBN television.
“China, Beijing, the air is polluted and I feel there are people [there] who would want to get away, go to a fresh place and I think the Philippines would be one of the best tourist spots for everybody,” he said through a translator.
Okada’s new property in the capital will initially employ around 10,000 people and is one of four mega-casinos planned on a glittering strip fronting Manila Bay dubbed Entertainment City.
The country is targeting revenues of $7 billion, roughly the levels of Singapore and Las Vegas, by 2020, as part of its bid to become one of the world’s top gambling destinations, after the Chinese enclave of Macau, the gaming industry’s capital.