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The gaming industry's growth and its impact in real estate by Nadine PacisPublished: March 30, 2015Updated: March 30, 2015

The gaming industry is growing rapidly and its success is creating a spillover effect in real estate and tourism

Project: Entertainment City seems to be paying off well. Touted as a worthy rival against Las Vegas and Macau, Entertainment City is certainly gaining a lot of attention both locally and internationally, creating an upward trend not only in the country’s gaming industry, but also in tourism and real estate.

The gaming industry’s successes
As of now, the large-scale government initiative to boost the gaming industry is showing no signs of failing or slowing down, with record breaking profits being reported and more casinos starting their construction. This month it was reported that Bloomberry, the operator of integrated casino-resort Solaire, the first integrated casino-resort in Entertainment City, made P4.072 billion or $91 million last year. The 2014 figure is a vast improvement from 2013’s P1.315 billion loss. And while the City of Dreams just opened last month, the extravagant opening event which featured billionaires and international celebrities is a sign that they can expect to gain much in the coming months. Meanwhile, Resorts World Manila (close proximity to Entertainment City), posted a P5.4 billion net in 2014.

In addition to the current casinos, two more casino complexes are being built for Entertainment City. These are Tiger Resorts and Entertainment Inc.’s The Manila Bay Resorts which will open in 2016, and Alliance Global Inc.’s (Megaworld’s parent company) Resort’s World Bayshore which will open in 2018. It should also be noted that last year Caesar’s Entertainment, America’s largest casino operator, proposed a $1 billion dollar project for a fifth casino.

Real estate and tourism
The fast emerging gaming industry in the country is also creating the expected chain reaction which benefits tourism and of course, real estate. The 2014 tourism statistics from the Department of Tourism shows that total earnings from inbound tourism in 2014 amounted to P214.88 billion, a 15% increase from 2013’s income of P186.15 billion.  The month of December recorded the highest monthly income with $597.76 million.

With more foreigners wanting to travel to the country, there has been more demand for hotels and/or condotels in Manila. And because Entertainment City has attracted much attention on an international scale, more global hotel brands want to venture in Manila as well. According to Colliers International Philippines, Accor Group’s Novotel and MGallery, Hilton Worldwide’s Conrad, and Wyndham Worldwide Corp’s Tryp, will bring in hotels in Manila which will open this year. The total number of rooms opening in the area in 2015 is expected to reach 4,612. And it can be expected that more resort hotels that will help fill the gap in accommodations for tourists, and will also bring in more travelers to Manila.

Only one downer
Despite the government’s successes in molding the Entertainment City to be the newest gaming capital of the world, it could still struggle to pull in more travelers due to lack of infrastructure to serve travelers. Colliers International Philippines Top 10 Predictions in 2015 report pointed out the need to remedy the problems with the airport system. “The problems that plague the airport system in Manila (as well as some airlines) will continue to dissuade international travelers and stifle tourism growth,” the report said. “Without a clear and concrete plan to fix the capacity of NAIA or construct nearby airports, the country may not be able to accommodate more tourists, missing tremendous opportunities brought about by the current tourism boom,” it added.

Recently, the government has revamped NAIA 1, which is notoriously known as one of the world’s worst airports. It has also shortlisted two groups for the runway optimization project of NAIA.

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