CHAIRMAN AND CEO
POWER SCORE: 1,860
POSITION LAST YEAR: 9
CLAIMS TO FAME
• Heads only Philippine company that solely controls an Entertainment City integrated resort
• Owns and operates Manila casino market leader Solaire
• Building a Quezon City casino hotel, active in Korea, expressed interested in Japan and Argentina
The March 2013 debut of Solaire Resort and Casino represents a watershed in Philippine gaming. As the first property in Entertainment City, government gaming regulator PAGCOR’s designated international casino destination, Solaire needed to be exceptional – and it was. Designed by Paul Steelman, from the elegant gaming floor to guest rooms showcasing Manila Bay sunsets, Solaire promoted Philippine gaming to the big leagues. By its second anniversary, Solaire had supplanted Resorts World Manila as the market leader and has stayed on top since. Its 35% share of the Manila IR market leads City of Dreams Manila by 10 percentage points, with Okada Manila at 22% and Resorts World Manila at 17%.
Solaire is the brainchild of Bloomberry Resorts Chairman and CEO Enrique Razon, who took the family ports business global and became a billionaire. He’s shown great instincts at US$1.2 billion Solaire, on track for US$333 million EBITDA this year from 800 rooms, 360 tables and more than 1,600 machines with a Broadway style theater and classy vibe.
Razon’s gaming instincts beyond Solaire need work. Bloomberry’s plans for a Php20 billion casino hotel in Quezon City, targeting the northeast side of Metro Manila farthest from Entertainment City, met opposition from local leaders, seeking an admission fee for residents. PAGCOR backs Bloomberry, but it’s not a great look, particularly for overseas ambitions.
In 2015, Bloomberry spent US$100 million for Jeju Sun, a hotel and foreigner-only casino on the Korean island offering visa free access to mainland Chinese. After a US$15 million upgrade, Jeju Sun remains unprofitable. However, Bloomberry continues to eye Japan.
For the full list of 2019 Asian Gaming Power 50 winners, click here.