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Philippines Set To Make A Run At Casino Champ Title

Macau has become the casino gambling capital of the world over the past half dozen years. High rollers no longer travel across the world to Nevada to gamble, instead staying close to home at the cozy casinos in Macau.

With Las Vegas not being able to recover its place on top, other areas have looked into making a run at the top destination title. The Philippines are expected to be the next area to take a crack at dethroning Macau.

This weekend, the $1 billion Solaire Resort and Casino will open to the public in the Philippines. President Benigno Aquino III will be on hand for the opening ceremonies, and the president expects that by 2016, over $10 million tourists will make their way to the Philippines to gamble.

The new resort has nearly 300 table games, 1,200 slot machines, and a 500-room hotel. The facility also is home to an 1,800-seat theater, eight restaurants, a night club, and a spa. The resort is the first of what the Philippines hopes will be many gaming establishments.

While Macau is currently the leader in the industry, Solaire COO Michael French believes that the Philippines have one thing that Macau cannot match.

"For those who are in the gaming business, which is what fuels Macau, this is a better deal for them," said French.

What the executive was referring to was the 15% tax that Solaire will pay to the Philippines. That is less than double what Macau's rate (40%) stands at. With hundreds of millions of dollars on the line, French does not think it will be long before developers starting seeing the Philippines as a legitimate gaming destination.

His colleagues, agree, although Lorraine Koo, the vice-president for business development at Solaire has different reasons she can see the Philippines becoming a gaming hot spot.

"The Philippines itself is a very attractive tourist destination," said Koo. "The only issue we might possibly have is we may not be perceived that way. All we need is one chance to be able to show our international players how great the Philippines is."

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