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CITY OF DREAMS MANILA EXPANDS


Melco Crown Entertainment has increased its spending plan for its City of Dreams Manila project to US$680m Philippines - Operations


Melco Crown Entertainment has increased how much it plans to spend in its City of Dreams Manila project to US$680m following approvals from state-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation for more table games.


Chief Executive Lawrence Ho said the investment could increase further before the resort’s mid- 2014 opening as it adds more leisure and hotel brands. “It keeps going up. Our most recent num- ber is $680m because PAGCOR will allow us more tables and we keep finding great brands,” Mr. Ho said.


City of Dreams Manila will open with 365 tables, 1,680 slots and 1,680 electronic table games.


Melco Crown has partnered with Filipino billion- aire Henry Sy to build the City of Dreams project, with both companies committing $500m each in order to meet the government’s $1bn minimum investment. Located on a 6.2-hectare site in Entertainment City, City of Dreams Manila will have boast six hotel towers with a total of 950 rooms from three hotel brands as well as a num- ber of high-end specialty restaurants and bars. The integrated resort will house three entertain- ment venues, including Manila’s first branded Family Entertainment Center, a live performance central lounge inside the casino and a night club situated at the Fortune Egg, an architecturally- unique dome-like structure, expected to become an iconic landmark of the Manila Bay area.


In October, Crown Hotel confirmed it would open


China Galaxy Entertainment Founder Lui Che-Woo is now officially Asia’s richest person with Bloomberg Billionaires Index saying he is now richer than Hong Kong real estate investor Li Ka- Shing. The Galaxy boss’s net worth has increased by $3.5bn in January to $29.6bn, pushing him $100m ahead of Mr. Li, who was Asia’s richest man from April 9, 2012. Mr. Lui owns 51 per cent of Macu operator Galaxy, Asia’s third-largest casino operator by revenue. Galaxy’s shares increased by 129 per cent during 2013 Macau’s GGR boomed by 18.6 per cent to come in at $45.2bn.


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at the City of Dreams Manila with the 260-room hotel catering to the high-end VIP and premium mass-market segments in Manila.


The second hotel deal saw Nobu Hotel commit to opening as part of the project.


Nobu Hospitality co-founders Academy Award- winner Robert De Niro, Hollywood producer Meir Teper and world renowned Japanese culinary genius Chef Nobu Matsuhisa flew in to Manila to announce the opening of the luxurious boutique hotel in the third quarter of the year.


The 321-room trendsetting Nobu Hotel will deliver a “thrilling, celebrity-inspired and fun-luxury experience fused with the utmost quality” to visi- tors of City of Dreams Manila.


Nobu Hospitality Chief Executive Trevor Horwell said: “When you’re going into a business relation- ship, you have to make sure you have the right partners. The vision for City of Dreams Manila is very important. Naturally, we believe the staff in the Philippines will be perfect to deliver the serv- ice that is truly Nobu-service.”


Seen as the “ultimate playground,” Nobu Hotel will offer a “fusion of laid-back luxury, high- energy nightlife and exclusive guest room retreats and spa services.”


Macau considers new gaming limit on electronic machines


MACAU Macau’s gaming regulators are now considering introducing a cap on electronic gaming terminals to go with the limits on traditional live dealer tables.


Secretary for Economy and Finance Francis Tam Pak Yuen has publically conceded that limiting the growth of traditional table gaming at three per cent com- pound annual growth until the end of 2022 might not be enough. He also said the current cap on tradi- tional live dealer table numbers might continue after 2022.


Mr. Tam said: “We have actually started some studies on this since the current slots are so different to what we had in the past due to the


rapid growth in the development of electronic gaming equipment.


“We hope we can introduce to the public the government thoughts on this at an appropriate time. Gaming tables may not play a major role in the casino resorts in the next 10 or 20 years and per- haps the electronic gaming machines would have accounted for a principal position instead,” he added.


Macau had a total of 14,775 by the third quarter of 2013, up by 25 per cent since 2008 with revenue from slots increasing by nine per cent year-on-year to US$1.3bn in the first three quarters of 2013. Electronic Table Game revenue is though classified as table revenue.


AUSTRALIA – ECHO CEO RESIGNS AS PROFITS SLUMP Echo Entertainment’s Chief Executive has resigned after just one year in the job, following an alarming dip in profit due bigger than expected wins by high-end punters. Echo Entertainment CEO John Redmond announced his retire- ment from the Australian operator as it reported net profit had dropped by 30.5 per cent to A$46.1m, due to ‘higher- than-expected win rates’ from VIP customers. Gross revenue dropped 7.3 per cent to $901m, normalised revenue, which disregards volatility caused by high rollers, dropped 4.8 per cent in the first half of 2013-14 to $929.6m, due to weak spending. Revenue from table games and poker machines dropped 7.4 and 2.8 per cent respectively.


Echo, whose shares have lost 35 per cent over the past year, said Mr. Redmond would retire from the company during 2H14 and return to the United States of America. He has begun the transition of his responsibilities to Matt Bekier who will become Managing Director and CEO, having served as CFO and an Executive Director of Echo since the company’s establishment as a separate listed entity.


Chairman John O’Neill AO said: “Over a transition period of the next three months, John will be handing over his respon- sibilities to Matt Bekier. Matt knows the company and the Australian market exceptionally well and has been working closely with John in re-establishing a path towards profitable growth. The Board is confident that Matt is the right person to lead the group forward on the foundations that have been built, and looks forward to the continuity that Matt’s appoint- ment will provide.”


AUSTRALIA – DIRECT TO MARKET FOR WMS GAMING WMS Gaming is expanding its commercial activities in Australia. Building on the efforts of its former distributor, eBET Group and continuing to leverage the eBET service team, WMS plans to increase its Australian presence in New South Wales and other states and territories by expanding its Sydney office through a new customer-facing sales team and by dedicating a local product development studio to the Australian market.


WMS plans to offer an innovative product portfolio that is tai- lored to Australian players, which is expected to enhance the player experience and help drive long-term growth for cus- tomers. With this increased investment and focus, WMS is prepared to support existing and future customers and capi- talize on additional growth opportunities in this market.


Sebastian Salat, President, WMS International, said, “WMS is excited about our expanded role in Australia. Growth in Australia is an important component of our long-term strat- egy. We are building our sales, marketing and game develop- ment capabilities with a sharp focus on local customer needs. We expect that our relationship with eBET will be a key link in our customer experience, as we seek to provide our customers with the highest level of service possible and bring to market our latest innovations."


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