Okada Manila, the massive casino and hotel complex on the promising gaming strip Entertainment City, will open permanent retail stores by July 2018. A representative of the casino announced Tuesday that by the end of 2019, the luxury complex will be home to approximately 50 retailers.
These permanent stores are designed to replace the pop-up stands which operate for a brief period of time at the property. Okada Manila, which opened in December 2016, is currently the largest operating casino resort at Manila’s Entertainment City, a gambling and entertainment zone in the city which is still under development. The hotel has so far reported daily visits of up to 20,000 customers during weekends, while on weekdays, it has attracted around 10,000 customers per day.
The introduction of permanent, possibly high-end retail stores is part of a large campaign which aims at increasing daily visitor numbers and resulting in growth in the long run. With more diverse offerings, the casino resort hopes to attract new customers and eventually reach its target of 50,000 customers a day. The first retail stores will be opened by mid-year and by the end of 2019, some 50 shopping venues are expected to operate on the premises of the resort, said the resort’s managing director Steve Wolstenholme.
The 993-room casino and hotel complex Okada Manila is not yet working at full capacity, he added. There are currently 2,600 operating slot machines out of the 3,000 machines planned for the casino floor, as well as 300 gaming tables instead of the 500 tables in the plans. Wolstenholme said that over the next several months, the number of rooms will rise from 350 to 500, as the hotel part of the complex is also opening in stages. Once working at full capacity, it will have nearly 1,000 rooms.
Slow But Steady Improvement for Manila’s Entertainment City
Steve Wolstenholme admits that the slow development of Okada Manila may cause a lower return on investment in the short term. However, the long-term growth and development of the integrated casino resort are much more important, according to him. Moreover, casino resorts in the Philippines do not rely solely on gaming revenues for their growth. On the contrary, the improvement of the city’s image and reputation as a gaming, shopping and tourism destination is crucial, Wolstenholme says.
This applies not only to Okada Manila but to all casino resorts – currently around twenty properties in the city. Okada Manila is the third project to open in Entertainment City, a gaming and entertainment zone which covers an area of around 8 sq.km. in Metropolitan Manila. It was opened in 2007 but the first casino did not launch before 2013 when Bloomberry Resorts opened its $1.2 billion Solaire Resort and Casino. Melco Crown’s $1.3 billion City of Dreams launched in 2014 and two years later, Japanese businessman and former Steve Wynn partner Kazuo Okada opened the $2.4 billion Okada Manila.
The Philippines hopes that when completed, the zone will resemble the massive gaming and entertainment areas of Las Vegas and Macau. Two more properties are now being under construction, one of which is the massive Westside City Resorts World developed by the MegaWorld Corporation. Expected to open in 2021, the urban township will comprise of two hotel towers with a total of 1,214 rooms, a residential complex with 4,000 units, a shopping mall, and a large number of parks, stores, restaurants and entertainment facilities.