Tiger Resorts in talks with international retailers for casino complex

Iris Gonzales - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc., is in talks with world-class luxury partners for the retail component of its planned $2-billion Manila Bay Resorts, a resort and casino complex slated to open in December 2016 at Pagcor’s 100-hectare Entertainment City in Paranaque.

This developed as Tiger’s parent firm Universal Entertainment Corp. announced it has decided to move past the bribery allegations that hounded the company in recent years to focus on the development of the casino complex.

Industry sources said casino mogul Kazuo Okada, chairman of Universal Entertainment, is in talks with world-class Japanese retailer Mitsukoshi, Ltd.

Mitsukoshi is an international department store chain headquartered in Japan and which has presence in Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, Europe and the United States, among others.

Sought for comment, Lorenzo Manalang, executive director at Tiger Resort, said talks are indeed ongoing with possible retail partners.

“We are currently looking at several world class retail partners for our property,” he told The STAR.

Universal Entertainment, meanwhile, said its has decided to abandon its claims in civil actions against its former employees filed with the Tokyo District Court for an alleged bribery affair related to its planned casino in the Philippines.

Instead, the company is focused on the development of the casino complex.

“Universal Entertainment Corp. hereby announces the company has decided to abandon its claims in civil actions pending against its former employees. The company has filed civil complaints with the Tokyo District Court to claim damages against its former employees related to the past unfair outflow of $40,000,000 in total,” Universal Entertainment said on Sept. 17.

In 2012, reports surfaced Universal had funnelled millions to an associate of former Pagcor chairman Efraim Genuino to allegedly obtain concessions related to the development of the Manila casino. Philippine authorities have said there is no sufficient evidence to support the bribery claims. Universal then filed a civil case against its former employees for authorizing multimillion dollar payments. Pagcor or the Philippine Amusement Gaming Corp. is the state-owned gaming regulator. 

It said that it has been advised by a financial institution to end the litigations promptly to be able to open its Manila Bay Resorts in Manila as soon as possible and to raise funds smoothly.

Last month, Universal Entertainment issued $600 million in offshore 2020 bonds, which it listed at the Singapore Stock Exchange on Aug. 25, to raise funds for the Manila Bay resort development.

“After considering the request from the financial institution, the company has determined it is helpful to concentrate its business resources in order to open the casino resorts promptly and concluded to abandon the claims in the actions. By September 11th, the company has filed a paper to abandon the claims with the Tokyo District Court,” it said.

The group is proceeding with the project to develop the “world’s top casino resort called Manila Bay Resorts in Manila” and to create a core business.

Tiger’s casino and resort complex  is envisioned to be a world-class Las Vegas style development with luxurious hotels, classy restaurants, commercial facilities, hotels, residences and state of the art pool with real sand beach covered by a huge glass dome.

The company is working on finishing the hotel in 2016 or in the first quarter of 2017. It will have two towers connected by a sky bridge with each tower having 15 floors, 500 rooms and an amazing view of Manila Bay and of the iconic dancing water fountain and light display within the property that will rival the fountains in Dubai.

Apart from the two hotels, there will be a 30,000 square meter casino with 500 table games and 3,000 slot machines.

Tiger has recently appointed veteran casino business executive Steve Wolstenholme as its chief operating officer.

Tiger Resort was granted a license in August 2008 to establish and operate a casino at the Entertainment City with a total investment of $2 billion.



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