Solaire operator's 'invite-only' tack barely recoups lost wagers
Bloomberry's Solaire Resort and Casino is located in the Entertainment City.

Solaire operator's 'invite-only' tack barely recoups lost wagers

Ramon Royandoyan (Philstar.com) - March 8, 2021 - 4:46pm

MANILA, Philippines — Gaming operator Bloomberry Resorts Corp. closed 2020 with losses merely stabilizing in the fourth quarter from previous 3 months, reflecting a hard climb back for an industry highly reliant on betting tourists.

The Razon-led integrated resort and casino posted a consolidated net loss of P2.5 billion in the final 3 months of the year, similar to third quarter, but unsurprisingly a swing from P1.4 billion in profits the pre-pandemic previous year.

For all of 2020, Bloomberry Resorts operated at a net loss of P8.3 billion, a disclosure to the stock exchange on Monday showed.

In a statement, the firm which operates the Solaire Resort and Casino in Parañaque in Metro Manila blamed disruptions posed by the pandemic to gambling, starting with lockdowns that halted casino operations for 3 months starting March 16 last year.

When the “temporary suspension” was lifted, limited operations also meant lower earnings from its core business. In the fourth quarter, gross gaming revenues dropped 63% year-on-year to P5.3 billion, although this was a 22% improvement from July-September period.

“I am encouraged by our performance in the final quarter of the 2020…Our recovery is well underway,” Enrique Razon Jr., chair and chief executive, was quoted as saying in the statement.

In sum though, wagers fell last year as tourism that provides a typical tailwind to the gaming sector was abruptly halted by travel barriers meant to contain the coronavirus. Travel restarted in October, but foreign tourism is still lackluster and the government does not expect a pick-up this year.

As a result of last year's health crisis, Bloomberry’s gaming revenues tanked 62% on-year to P22.61 billion in 2020. Broken down, revenues from VIP tables sank a larger 69% to P8 billion, while those for the rest dropped 56% to P7.3 billion. Electronic gaming receipts decreased 57% to P7.2 billion.

“Solaire is currently not open to the public and maintains an invite-only policy,” the company said.

Also because of limitations to “select invitees’ only, non-gaming revenues, or those earned from Bloomberry’s hotel, restaurant, and retail divisions shrank 55% from year-ago levels to P3.7 billion in 2020. The same revenue segment from Jeju Sun was reduced as well, plummeting 80% year-on-year to P25.9 million in 2020. For fourth quarter alone, Bloomberry’s non-gaming division slid 65% to P761.3 million.

The company’s EBITDA, which are earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization and also a measure of financial strength, plunged as much as 93% to P19.8 billion. Bloomberry’s earnings per share dropped to P0.758 in 2020 from P0.903.

Shares at Bloomberry closed down 0.64% to P7.80 apiece on Monday.

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