Manila is no Macau, and it’s certainly no Las Vegas. But when the “City of Dreams” opened in Manila earlier this year, many agreed that the Philippine capital is now well on its way to establishing a reputation as one of the foremost gambling destinations in Asia.
Should these efforts succeed further, we could see great boons for the country’s economy. Macau’s own gambling district has proven to be quite lucrative, earning approximately $45.27 billion in 2013 alone. That the Philippines has chosen to develop its gambling industry now also appears to be a timely choice.
As government officials begin to crack down on Macau’s operations, the region is left in turmoil as many of the high rollers seek more stable avenues for entertainment. The Philippines is certainly well-positioned as one of the more favorable alternatives, along with Singapore.
But the casino industry in the country doesn’t just serve to benefit from foreign high-rollers. As noted by Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail, gambling has long been ingrained into Filipino culture. In fact, many gamble and wager on sporting events like basketball and boxing and even in computer games. Poker has also gained massive popularity in recent years, thanks to poker games on Facebook and mobile devices.
Many developers have begun to look at the Philippines and the rest of Asia as a potential “boom” market. Sportsbooker and casino operator Betfair, which first launched the famous Asian Poker Tour (APT) in Singapore last 2006, this year had the tournament held in Manila’s own Resorts World. Filipinos consistently perform impressively in the APT, and with that being the case, the competition features Filipino players and their success stories regularly.
Needless to say, the casino development industry in the country is not showing any signs of slowing down in the near future. For example, the Philippine Star recently reported that the Sino-American Gaming Investment Group and Macau Resources Group Ltd. are already in talks with Philippine state gaming regulators regarding the possibility of opening two mega-resorts outside of Manila: one in Cebu, and one in Masbate.
Within Manila, two more casinos are expected: Manila Bayshore, a joint venture between Alliance Global Group Inc. and Malaysia’s Genting Group; and Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada’s Manila BayResorts.