MANILA Oct 7 The Philippine affiliate of
Japan's Universal Entertainment Corp said on Friday it
delayed the soft opening of its $2.4 billion Manila integrated
casino project by a month to December as it assess government
policies and the economic outlook.
"The initial opening of the property, including the hotel,
food and beverage outlets, casino and other major attractions,
will take place in December," Tiger Resort, Leisure and
Entertainment Inc said in a statement without specifying a date.
Andrea Domingo, chairman of Philippine Amusement and Gaming
Corp (Pagcor) - the nation's casino regulator - told Reuters in
a text message on Friday that the opening of Okada Manila was
set for Dec. 21.
Last year, Pagcor fined Tiger $2.2 million and threatened to
suspend its permit, citing delays in its casino-resort project.
Tiger had planned to open in November the first phase of the
integrated casino-resort, the largest and most expensive project
in Manila's gaming hub.
The delay comes as Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte
has escalated a crackdown on online gambling soon after being
sworn in on June 30.
Universal told the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Monday it was
"carefully considering the optimal timing for opening the
facility" in view of recent actions by the Philippines
government and as it assesses the near-term economic outlook.
The company, controlled by Japanese slot machine tycoon
Kazuo Okada through Tokyo-based Universal, holds one of four
licenses to operate a casino complex in Entertainment City, the
Philippines' answer to gaming hubs in Las Vegas, Macau and
Of the license holders, Bloomberry Resorts Corp,
and the tandem of Belle Corp and Melco Crown
Entertainment Ltd have opened their casinos, worth
more than $1 billion each.
(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)