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Universal Entertainment to invest in Manila casino
Universal Entertainment Corp., the Japanese pachinko company that’s the biggest shareholder in Wynn Resorts Ltd., will invest USD 2.3 billion in a casino project in the Philippines as Asian demand for gambling venues grows.
The company plans to open a casino and hotel in the Philippine capital of Manila by December 2013, it said in a statement distributed in Tokyo yesterday.
The Japanese company, which owns 19.7 percent of the casino operator founded by billionaire Stephen Wynn, said this month it started building its project in Manila in June.
The Philippines is accelerating construction of an entertainment complex as bettors in Asia fuel industry growth in Singapore and Macau.
Universal Entertainment gained 3.3 percent, the most in three weeks, to 2,605 yen at the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo trading, before the announcement was made. The stock has gained 9.8 percent this year, compared with a 17 percent slide in the broader Topix Index.
The company will spend USD 1.6 billion on the construction of the casino and hotel in the Philippines, it said in the statement. An additional USD 350 million will be invested on a residential project, Universal Entertainment said.
Australian billionaire James Packer and Lawrence Ho, son of Macau gambling mogul Stanley Ho, may invest at least USD 1 billion in a Manila casino project, Cristino Naguiat, chairman of the Philippine Amusement & Gaming Corp., the nation’s gambling regulator, said in a September 2 interview in Shanghai.
“Discussions are still ongoing” with Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd., said Naguiat.
The Philippines awarded four licences in 2008 and 2009 to operate casinos in a gambling and entertainment complex the government plans to build in Manila.
Each Philippine licensee agreed to invest USD 1 billion over five years, Naguiat said at that time. Three of the four that were given licences in 2008 to 2009 were a venture between Genting Malaysia Bhd and Alliance Global Group Inc., Philippine property developer Belle Corp., and Philippine ports magnate Enrique Razon’s Bloombury Investments Holding Inc.
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