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New casino in booming Filipino market

Sat, Nov 16, 1:15pm by Noah Taylor

The surge of gaming in the Philippines has shown no signs of letting up, with the Subic Bay Yacht Club, located in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone on the western coastline holding a soft opening for its new boutique casino recently.

Asgam reports the casino forms a central feature of the newly renovated Yacht Club which, at a cost of US$10 million, is targeting Asia’s growing yachting and boating community.

“Subic is a safe haven in the boating world, and we have mega yachts coming in on a weekly and monthly basis to use Subic Bay as their base,” chief executive officer and president of Volare Grandezza, Manual Antonio Sequeira – one of the partner firms in the property’s casino operations said.

“We have everything from Russian mega-yachts measuring 200 metres and above to mega-ships coming in from China – the smallest being 3,800 people and the biggest 5,200 guests, which is a huge market.

“So we saw an opportunity that this Yacht Club would be a great base to host a casino. We are positioning ourselves very much as a boutique casino, and we are only the second yacht club in the world to have a casino after Hobart.”

The new casino offers impressive views of the serenity of Subic Bay and opened last Monday with eight tables and 169 slot machines, but expects to grow to 43 gaming tables in operation by December, including roulette, pai gow, baccarat, blackjack and pontoon.

In-house junket operations will launch in 20202, and there are also plans to work with international junket operators across Asia.

One of only two casinos in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Subic Bay Yacht Club enjoys the same tax benefits as the nearby Clark Freeport Zone and sees itself as a unique alternative to the growing casino industry in Clark, whose primary target market is Koreans looking for a golfing getaway.

Subic offers three golf courses of its own and is just 45 minutes from Clark by car, but also sees its waterside location as a competitive advantage.

“The growing market in Asia of people boating and yachting will bring people here,” Mr Sequeira said.

“The fishing here is fantastic and just 20 minutes out by boat we have coves which you will drool over with pristine sands, unreachable by road, a two kilometre beach with nobody else around and clear, clean water. It is something we can produce that nobody else can.”

Philippines casino plan goes down like a led balloon

Plans by a Philippines casino to release tens of thousands of balloons to celebrate the New Year in 2019 was met with angst.

Okada Manila planned to ring in the New Year by dropping 130,000 balloons in one of its nightclubs to set a new world record.

The casino decided to voluntarily cancel the stunt as a “sign of respect” to environmentalists’ warnings according to a statement released last Sunday.

The Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources had joined green groups in criticising the balloon drop, saying it would generate a huge amount of waste.

In a statement on Monday, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources chief Roy Cimatu described Okada Manila’s decision as “laudable”.

Okada Manila initially remarked that the balloons would be biodegradable and recycled after the event.

The hotel’s social media pages were inundated with concern about its message, including from campaigners such as Greenpeace Philippines, with a petition gaining tens of thousands of signatures for the event to be cancelled.

Balloons marked as biodegradable such as those that were proposed by Okada Manila can remain in an ocean environment for four years according to the UK’s Marine Conservation Society.

In recent years, setting Guinness World Records has become popular in the Philippines including the ‘largest charity walk’ and ‘most hamburgers eaten in one minute’.


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