CHAIRMAN AND CEO
Bloomberry Resorts Corp
POWER SCORE: 1,329
POSITION LAST YEAR: 7
CLAIMS TO FAME
- Heads only Philippine company that solely controls an Entertainment City integrated resort
- Building a second casino hotel in Quezon City
ENRIQUE RAZON JR was one of the first in the industry to publicly predict just how long the COVID-19 pandemic would last, but almost a year after his company Bloomberry Resorts Corp posted a FY20 net loss of US$170 million even he must be wondering when better days will return.
Bloomberry, operator of Manila’s Solaire Resort & Casino as well as the much smaller (and currently closed) Jeju Sun in South Korea, followed up last year’s loss with further losses of US$16.3 million and US$24.1 million respectively in Q1 and Q2, impacted by regular periods of closure and capacity limits.
The September quarter promises to offer similar results given Solaire was only open through July, and yet there is no doubt that Razon has been at the front of the Philippines COVID-19 fight since the outset.
Last year his companies funded construction of a 600-bed quarantine facility located near Solaire in Parañaque, and this year planned out a vaccination facility with capacity to vaccinate up to 12,000 people per day. Solaire was also one of the first IRs in the country to announce that all of its customer-facing staff were vaccinated.
None of that is particularly surprising. Despite having no gaming experience to his name, Razon was the first to open an integrated resort in Manila’s Entertainment City back in 2013, and although Solaire is no longer alone, it continues to retain its position as market leader among all Manila casinos.
Meanwhile, Bloomberry is powering ahead with development of its second Manila IR, Solaire North, to be located in Quezon City and scheduled to open in 2023. Japan was also on the radar for some time but Bloomberry quietly slipped away given the regulatory and financial uncertainties that continue to plague that market.
Razon continues to wield enormous power in the Philippines thanks to his many business interests, most notably via port-handling giant International Container Terminal Services from which he first made his billions.
He also has interests in power, mining, oil and gas, and in 2020 purchased a 25% stake in utilities firm Manila Water, injecting much-needed funding into an operation whose financial struggles have long earned the ire of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. Razon increased that stake to 51% this year and was appointed Chairman of the Board – adding yet another string to his already extensive bow.
For the full list of 2021 Asian Gaming Power 50 winners, click here.