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Gaming Capital? Transformation of Manila & PH

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Gaming Capital? Transformation of Manila & PH

Gambling, & Mainland Tourism is transforming Greater Manila & the Philippines


The numbers and the impact is staggering

The 5 Best Metro Manila Casinos - TripAdvisor

    Top Metro Manila Casinos: See reviews and photos of casinos & gambling attractions in Metro Manila, Philippines on TripAdvisor.


    The Property market has been a major beneficiary - as workers hired for online casinos serving China, have turned a possible Bust to a Boom

    100,000 Chinese Move to Manila And Trigger Property Surge

    On Fri, May 4, 2018

    By Bloomberg News

    In Manila’s main financial district and its fringes, signs of the new inhabitants are everywhere: the restaurants serving steaming Chinese hotpots and dumplings, the Mandarin broadcasts at the Mall of Asia, and the soaring property prices.

    An estimated 100,000 migrants, mostly Chinese, have flooded into pockets of the Philippines capital since September 2016, and the deluge is rippling through the city’s real estate market in ways that are unique among the world’s urban centers. While Chinese investors have been snapping up big swathes of high-end housing in Hong Kong, London and New York for years to move their money offshore, this new rush is motivated by something different: Manila’s booming gaming industry.

    More than 50 offshore gambling companies that cater to overseas Chinese punters have received permits to operate in the city since President Rodrigo Duterte’s government began awarding licenses 19 months ago. While bets are placed remotely, the operators need Chinese speakers in Manila to handle everything from marketing and customer queries to payment processing for overseas clients.

    The resulting migration, while only a fraction of the metropolitan area’s 12.9 million population, is propelling home prices to record levels in neighborhoods favored by Chinese workers. It’s reinvigorating Manila’s commercial property market as owners convert offices and shops into gaming centers with card tables and webcams. And it’s boosting the bottom lines of local developers including Ayala Land Inc. and SM Prime Holdings Inc.

    While no official numbers are publicly available showing the number of Chinese arrivals in Manila, people familiar with the matter said that offshore gaming operators in the Philippines employ about 200,000 workers, predominantly Chinese, and more than half of them have arrived in the capital region since late 2016. The Bureau of Immigration said it couldn’t immediately provide the data.

    The influx promises to boost the nation’s economy and is helping to strengthen ties with China – a priority for Duterte. Yet it leaves the property market vulnerable in the event of an abrupt shift in online gaming or immigration policies from either country.

    The perils of relying too heavily on Chinese buyers became painfully obvious last year in the Malaysian enclave of Johor Bahru, which has been grappling with a glut of vacant homes after China imposed controls on investments in overseas property and demand abruptly dried up.

    > https://macaudailytimes.com.mo/files/pdf2018/3041-2018-05-07.pdf

    AREAS the benefited from Chinese buying and mainland Chinese tenants include:

     > Manila Bay- : Casino Haven, wanting to become Tourist & Financial Center

    > Binondo ----- : Historical "Chinatown" :

    > San Antonio : "Little China" TechZone area :



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    the big transformation started about five years ago

    Opening of Solaire casino launches Manila's new gambling hub

    Gambling complex is launched today with the opening of port tycoon's US$1.2b Solaire resort


    The Philippines today opens the first casino in a hub designed to emulate the success of Macau.

    Port tycoon Enrique Razon's US$1.2 billion Solaire Manila casino will have a monopoly within Manila's new entertainment and gambling complex until the country's richest man, Henry Sy, opens a venture there next year.

    The billionaires are investing in casinos as the Philippines seeks to copy Macau, where gamblers from mainland China fuelled a 14 per cent revenue surge to a record US$38 billion last year. New resorts could help the Philippines' gaming market expand five-fold to US$10 billion by 2017, its chief regulator estimates.

    The gaming area in Solaire is decorated with mother-of-pearl-covered columns and a floor embedded with coloured glass.

    It is designed to get 45 per cent of its revenue from VIPs, or high-stakes punters, according to Razon's partner Bradley Stone, president at Global Gaming Asset Management.

    Razon holds one of four casino licences the Philippines awarded in 2008 and 2009 for the entertainment hub that is close to Manila Bay.

    Sy and Melco Crown Entertainment are scheduled to jointly open a casino resort there in July next year.

    A venture of Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada and a fourth casino in the Manila complex by Philippine billionaire Andrew Tan and Genting Hong Kong are expected to open between 2015 and 2016.

    Razon has so far spent US$750 million to build Solaire's first phase that opens today and he's spending another US$400 million for an expansion that will be completed by the third quarter of next year, Stone said. Manila, only three to four hours away from China, Japan and South Korea, will be an attractive alternative for high rollers in these markets, he added.

    The Philippines is counting on the new casino ventures to boost tourist traffic that lags behind that of Indonesia and Thailand. It's also betting that these investments, set by the government at US$1 billion for each licence holder, will help cut the jobless rate, which is among the highest in Asia.

    Solaire's first phase includes an 18,500 square metre gaming area with 300 tables and 1,200 slot machines, seven restaurants and a five-star hotel. The expansion, already under construction, includes more VIP gaming space, a 1,800-seat theatre for Broadway shows and 60,000 square metres of retail space.

    > http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/article/1191809/opening-solaire-casino-launches-manilas-new-gambling-hub

    / 2 /

    No Chinese high rollers? No problem! | Inquirer Business

      Apr 8, 2015 - Many independent analysts agree: The Philippines is the next big ... edge of Manila Bay, given the ongoing crackdown versus Chinese high-rolling gamblers. ... casino venues used to generate their revenues from high-roller ...

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      China's High Rollers Are Phoning In Big Bets to Manila Casinos ...

      May 3, 2017 -

      • More Chinese now gambling via calls to Philippine casinos
      • 55 arrested in gaming syndicate shows China taking action

      In a VIP room reserved for high-spending gamblers at casino in the Philippine capital, many of the players are nowhere to be seen. They’re not even in the country. 

      / 2 /

      How China’s high rollers are using phone bets to get around nation’s gambling laws

      • Chinese players wagered $27 billion in Philippine casinos in 2016
      • VIP casino rooms take phone bets from China

      Chinese high-rollers are exploiting the laws in the Philippines and modern technology to get around their nation’s gambling prohibition.

      Chinese phone betting Filipino casinos
      Chinese high rollers are circumventing their own nation’s gambling laws by making phone bets at Filipino casinos, it has been reported. Pictures: Thinkstock.

      Placing bets by telephone is illegal in most other gaming centres including Singapore, Macau and Australia but it is legal in the Philippines and many Chinese are taking advantage. The VIP rooms of many Philippine casinos feature ceiling cameras which broadcast the gaming action to China, while casino staff wearing headsets talk to Chinese clients and place bets for them, according to Bloomberg.

      The increasing enthusiasm for phone betting in the Philippines among Chinese high rollers has resulted in dramatic increases in revenue locally and now accounts for up to 85% of gambling business in some casinos. Across the industry, Philippine casinos have reported upturns in VIP revenue equating to 110%, and, at a conservative estimate, it is believed that as much as $27 billion was wagered by Chinese gamblers in 2016.

      Money laundering

      This dramatic surge in VIP betting by proxy has led to concern about the risk of money laundering. A US government report raised the issue in March this year and the Chinese government has also been attempting to crack down on the trade, as it tries to stem the flow of money out of the country.

      > https://www.casinopedia.org/news/china-high-roller-phone-bets-gambling-law


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      Social Media is Talking about the spreading impact !

      (from a Viber chat): Casino impacts spreads from Manila hotspots to Alabang


      I saw a post about the Condo at Southmall.... 70 units for sale? The top floor of this condo now has an online gaming casino and the place is full of mainland Chinese players renting units there. Accross the street are 2 other casinos, 1 run by PAGCOR and the other by a Chinese trader. With this development, the administrator told me that the rental business is quite brisk.


      no wonder the rental rates in Amaia Alabang have gone up


      there is 1 big online gaming casino in Festival Mall.

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      Real danger of overinvestment as casino companies flock to Philippines

      Philippines’ blossoming casinos are performing almost too well, reports Reuters, with high levels of interest creating what some are calling an oversupply.


      The Asian nation will open state-run land-based casino interests to commercial bidders next year, raising interest from operators already active in the Macau and Singapore markets.

      Nationalization of thriving casino industry

      The Philippines is already home to some privately-owned casino resorts, including the Solaire in Manila Bay, but more than 40 of the country’s gambling facilities are currently owned by the state.

      The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp currently acts in a regulatory capacity as well as operating the state’s casinos, but as of early next year its gaming licenses will be open to commercial bidders. PAGCOR will continue in its role as chief regulator for the gambling industry after the nationalization process is complete.

      Bloomberry Resorts, which owns the Solare, is interested in the license. Chairman Enrique Razon Jr told Reuters confirmed that the company has expressed interest (pending details of sale conditions) and hoped that a presence in Manila would give the brand an edge over foreign investors. However, Razon expects Macau operators to bid for licenses in Manila.

      Growing gambling market attracts investor attention

      The gambling scene in Asia is making significant gains, especially in Macau where records profits were posted in the first half of this year. Plans to legalize gaming in Japan and blossoming revenues in Singapore have boosted the appeal of this Asian market to foreign operators. The Philippines is also seeing gambling gains, with year to date revenues from Morgan Stanley showing a 27% increase for the country’s casinos.

      Concerns of ‘cannibalization’ within gambling market

      Gaming revenues in Asia are growing, and operators all want a slice of the profit for themselves. The fast turnover of a profit makes casino investment one of the hot tickets in 2017, and this planned nationalization of Philippine state casinos creates an ideal opportunity.

      The government wants its Entertainment City project to rival Macau and Las Vegas, attracting visitors from all over the world, and it is keen to pull in big names who can invest well.

      > https://www.casinopedia.org/news/real-danger-of-overinvestment-as-casino-companies-flock-to-philippines

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      Gambling Boom has pushed Manila Bay property to skyhigh  levels

      Look at these prices from SMDC


      Bayshore Properties for Resale from 63 Realty Inc./ 63 Fang
      Example: P17.0 Million / 56 sqm = P 303k per sqm

      Duterte Opens Up The Philippines To Chinese Workers, As Filipinos Seek Jobs Overseas

      Chinese workers are “flooding” the Philippines.

      That’s according to a story published recently in South China Morning Post.  Worse, Duterte’s administration is losing count of how many Chinese workers are in the country legally or illegally, according to the same source.

      . . .

      A total of 3.12 million Chinese citizens entered the Philippines from January 2016 to May 2018, according to the Bureau of Immigration. Within these figures is a number of Chinese workers, which is still unknown. What isn’t unknown is the number of Filipinos seeking jobs overseas, which reached 2.2 million as of 2016.

      That begs the question: Why is the Philippines opening up its labor market to foreign workers when it cannot provide jobs for its own people?

      It is known that the Philippines unemployment rate stands at 5.1% in 2018, well above China’s 3.82%. Meanwhile, China’s GDP growth stands at 6.5%, well ahead of the Philippines 6.1%. That begs another question: Why are Chinese workers heading to the Philippines when there are better opportunities at home?

      . . .

      Chinese contractors have been heading to the Philippines to get a piece of the country’s infrastructure spending boom. “A combination of Philippines President Duterte’s USD180bn ‘Build, Build, Build’ program and the Chinese One Belt, One Road initiative has created one of the largest infrastructure construction booms in Asia,” Eijas Ariffin in a piece in THE ASEAN POST.

      And as is the case in Africa and other Asian countries Chinese contractors are bringing along their own engineers and their own workers.

      Apparently, the pay is better than home.

      Meanwhile, Chinese citizens are snapping up local properties in rich districts. “In Manila’s main financial district and its fringes, signs of the new inhabitants are everywhere: the restaurants serving steaming Chinese hotpots and dumplings, Mandarin broadcasts at the Mall of Asia, and the soaring property prices,” reports Bloomberg.

      Then there are gamblers heading to the Philippines, as the Chinese government cranks down on conspicuous gambling in Macau by its citizens. And as Chinese gamblers come to the Philippines, so do related businesses, like restaurants and entertainment staffed by Chinese workers.

      “An estimated 100,000 migrants, mostly Chinese, have flooded into pockets of the Philippines capital since September 2016, and the deluge is rippling through the city’s real estate market in ways that are unique among the world’s urban centers,” continues the report.“While Chinese investors have been snapping up big swathes of high-end housing in Hong Kong, London and New York for years to move their money offshore, this new rush is motivated by something different: Manila’s booming gaming industry.”

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      Fast Facts on Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators

      • Also known as POGOs
      • Such operations were limited to three provinces north of Manila before Sept. 2016 decision to expand them to the capital region
      • 55 permits for POGOs have been awarded since then
      • 14 of those are engaged in sports betting
      • Revenue from POGOs quintupled to 3.57 billion Philippine pesos ($70 million) in 2017 from a year earlier

      Source: Philippine Amusement & Gaming Corp.


      Developers aren’t betting that boom times will last forever. Ayala Land’s President Bobby Dy said the builder will limit offshore gaming leases to 10 percent of its office portfolio. DoubleDragon plans to cap total exposure to such tenants to 30 percent once all its office towers are completed. The firm requires a one-year deposit from offshore gaming operators and post-dated checks for the duration of the five-year contract.

      Kitt Lapeña, 34, a Makati resident for most of his life, has seen waves of foreign residents come and go before, from Japan and Korea, but never on the scale of the recent Chinese influx. While he welcomes the economic boost, he worries about the motivations of the new arrivals.

      “In a way, it’s good for business,” Lapeña said. “I hope they become an asset to the community and not just out to make money.”

      > https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-03/in-china-s-new-gambling-hot-spot-property-prices-are-on-a-tear?fbclid=IwAR1BhXL8HViVp9DvTnix135LKk9B_YNnQ99H57VKPM2PCgtVT_i6Hg_79dY

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      How China’s online gambling addiction is reshaping Manila

      There's more dim sum and jobs in the metro, but the Chinese have driven up rent and brought in the sins tied to gambling

      AT A GLANCE:

      • Philippine Online Gambling Operations (POGOs) are creating a ripple of economic development, particularly in the property and food sectors
      • Locals are complaining about the high rental rates and rowdiness of some Chinese workers
      • POGO girls required to wear skimpy clothes and the possibility of money laundering worry some industry insiders

      MANILA, Philippines – A Filipina-looking dealer looks intently at the webcam, enticing bettors to place their bets. She does not speak, but smiles with her eyes as another voice in Mandarin speaks for her.

      She sports a revealing, black dress. There are even bunny ears to complete the whole Playboy look.

      Players watch her from the laptop, while flirting with Lady Luck for high returns. In just a single click, cash comes in and out of their virtual wallets.

      Welcome to the world of online gambling – the Chinese are hooked and Philippine shores have opened their arms to fuel their addiction.

      Manila is in a frenzy because of the flowing cash, and the impact on the community is hot for chit-chats.

      Game plan

      Gambling is illegal in China and is heavily opposed by the communist government. Authorities have intensified crackdowns to serve as a stern warning.

      To skirt this obstacle, gambling companies operate outside the mainland.

      “China has so much cash and many want to gamble. But gamblers need to travel abroad or to Macau,” said an expert on the matter who requested anonymity.

      With the emergence of online gambling, the Chinese simply log into a website and they can play the usual casino games like poker, roulette, and slot machines.

      Gaming companies that set up shop here are referred to as Philippine Online Gambling Operations (POGOs).

      LADY LUCK. Online gamblers can choose who their dealers will be. Screengrab from Oriental Game.

      LADY LUCK. Online gamblers can choose who their dealers will be. Screengrab from Oriental Game.

      According to the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor), they have authorized 57 POGOs to operate in the Philippines. (FAST FACTS: What you need to know about the Philippine casino industry)

      > https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/in-depth/212443-how-china-online-gambling-addiction-reshaping-manila

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