Philip­pine bid­der eyes casino li­cense

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

On De­cem­ber 18 the com­pany sub­mit­ted an “in­di­ca­tion of in­ter­est in bid­ding for the Cyprus in­te­grated re­sort project,” Bloomberry’s di­rec­tor of in­vestor re­la­tions Leo Venezuela told the Nikkei Asian Re­view.

The com­pany was par­tic­u­larly at­tracted to the 15-year ex­clu­sive con­tract of­fered by the Cyprus gam­ing au­thor­i­ties, Venezuela added, al­though he did not say what the min­i­mum in­vest­ment re­quire­ment would be.

In all, eight com­pa­nies have sub­mit­ted bids, with the Commerce, In­dus­try, En­ergy and Tourism Min­istry con­firm­ing it has re­ceived a to­tal of eight bids, with five bids to be set aside as the com­pe­ti­tion moves for­ward with three fi­nal­ists.

In Au­gust, the gov­ern­ment per­mit­ted the es­tab­lish­ment of a casino to boost tourism and may is­sue a gam­ing li­cense by next year, var­i­ous re­ports in­di­cate. Hong Kong-listed Naga Corp. is also re­port­edly bid­ding for the gam­ing li­cense.

Bloomberry, which op­er­ates the al­most three-year-old So­laire Re­sort and Casino in Manila, has been ag­gres­sively branch­ing out over­seas, from South Korea to Buenos Aires in Ar­gentina, where it has pro­posed to build an in­te­grated re­sort.

In South Korea, the com­pany early this year took over a small ho­tel and casino on Jeju Is­land and plans to es­tab­lish a big­ger one on its property near In­cheon, gam­ing li­cense there.

De­spite its ag­gres­sive ex­pan­sion into new mar­kets, Bloomberry has not es­caped the neg­a­tive ef­fect of China’s anti-cor­rup­tion crack­down, which tar­geted Chi­nese big casino spenders, and which has ham­mered Asian gam­ing stocks.

The iden­ti­ties of the bid­ders have not been re­vealed but the me­dia have been openly shar­ing names they feel are the com­pa­nies show­ing in­ter­est in the casino li­cense. Among the five bid­ders iden­ti­fied so far are Hard Rock In­ter­na­tional of

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is granted a the United States, Na­gaCorp of Cam­bo­dia, Bloomberry Re­sorts Corp in the Philip­pines, a French ven­ture that in­cludes Bouygues Ba­ti­ment In­ter­na­tional Ac­cord Ho­tels and casino op­er­a­tor Bar­riere of France. A con­glom­er­ate of Rus­sian in­ter­ests is also in­ter­ested in the li­cense, in­clud­ing Ab­so­lut, a firm in­volved in property and bank­ing.

It was be­lieved that the Gent­ing com­pany of Malaysia and Sun In­ter­na­tional of South Africa were in­ter­ested but with­drew their bid late. Cae­sars En­ter­tain­ment showed in­ter­est in the past but with bank­ruptcy is­sues, they have opted to not fo­cus on a new project as far as we can as­cer­tain at this point.

Now, the eight com­pa­nies vy­ing for the li­cense will be cut down to three within a 45 day time frame. This will be af­ter the gov­ern­ment re­views the prospec­tive projects and will con­tinue to nar­row down the can­di­dates un­til 2016 when the li­cense will be awarded. The win­ner will have two years to cre­ate the gam­ing fa­cil­ity.

Leg­is­la­tion al­lows for a gam­ing fa­cil­ity to be cre­ated with 100 gam­ing ta­ble min­i­mum and 1,000 elec­tronic gam­ing ma­chines. The casino can be built any­where the op­er­a­tor is able to cre­ate a deal, as long as the land is pri­vate. The win­ning bid­der will be able to con­struct a small casino im­me­di­ately. Along with the rev­enue gen­er­at­ing first fa­cil­ity, three satel­lite, slots-only casi­nos are al­lowed to be built in ad­di­tion to the mas­sive in­te­grated re­sort, the first of its kind ever to be built in Europe.

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