Bloomberry Resorts—controlled by ports-to-energy billionaire Enrique Razon Jr.—is gearing up to open its second casino resort in the Philippines after the company returned to the black last year amid a post-pandemic recovery in its gaming revenue.
The Philippine-listed company said late Thursday that it posted a net profit 5.1 billion pesos ($93 million) in 2022, compared with a net loss of 4.2 billion pesos in the previous year, as gross gaming revenue at its flagship Solaire Resort & Casino near the country’s main international airport jumped 81% to 50.1 billion pesos.
“Solaire benefited from a strong rebound in local demand across all business segments,” Razon, chairman and CEO of Bloomberry, said in a statement. “Our gaming revenues hit 84% of pre-pandemic levels, propelled by the domestic-focused mass table games and electronic gaming machines.”
With the recovery in gaming revenues, Bloomberry is ramping up construction of Solaire Resort North—which has cost about $1 billion to develop—in Quezon City, north of the Philippine capital of Manila. The property will start commercial operations by the first quarter of 2024, Razon said.
Bloomberry has been developing Solaire North on a 1.5-hectare site within Ayala Land’s Vertis North central business district since mid-2019 but construction was hampered during the pandemic. Solaire North will feature a hotel tower with up to 550 rooms and a gaming area with up to 200 gaming tables and as many as 3,000 slot machines.
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The opening of Solaire North comes amid a gaming boom, with consultancy firm GCG Gaming Advisory Services forecasting gross gaming revenues in the Philippines to double to $10 billion by 2027 from pre-pandemic levels of about $5 billion. To tap on this increasing demand, Bloomberry plans to expand his casino empire across the country.
Bloomberry, which also has a stake in the Jeju Sun Hotel & Casino in South Korea, plans to build another casino resort in Cavite, south of Manila, where it has already acquired beachfront properties. It plans to start developing the Cavite project once Solaire North has started commercial operations. The company is also conducting due diligence for a potential investment in tycoon Dennis Uy’s casino projects in the central Philippine island of Cebu and the former Clark Airbase, north of the capital.
Besides Bloomberry, Razon is also the controlling shareholder of global port giant International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) as well as privately held Prime Infrastructure Capital, which has been building its portfolio of water utilities, gas and renewable energy assets. He has a net worth of $6.6 billion, according to Forbes’ real-time data.