- Flexi Group
Philippines Billionaire Enrique Razon Gets Behind Emerald Bay Casino Resort
The company developing Emerald Bay Casino Resort has a new source of funds to further its endeavors. Enrique Razon, the Philippine billionaire entrepreneur and casino investor, is putting his weight behind PH Resorts Group Holdings.
Bloomberry Resorts Corp, a global – and sometimes controversial – hospitality investment and management company, is going to help PH Resort Group. The Enrique Razon-led company will provide investments to the latter to further its developments in the Philippines, including in Cebu and Clark Global City.
The money will primarily benefit PH Resort Group as it continues to advance its Emerald Bay Resort and Casino in Cebu. The project has been in the works for several years but has already had to tap into new funding sources to try to reach the finish line.
Bloomberry announced that it signed a term sheet with a subsidiary of PH Resort Group to detail the investment. This will give Razon extended entry into the Philippine casino market, expanding on the success of Bloomberry’s Solaire Resort and Casino in Manila.
Razon Expands Philippine Casino Interest
The company is also preparing to invest in Dennis Uy’s Clark Grand Leisure Corp, which is developing the Base Resort and Casino in Clark, Pampanga. Last October, the company withdrew its casino license for the development because of “lingering uncertainties surrounding the casino gaming industry.”
Clark Grand Leisure can request reinstatement of its license. If Bloomberry is making a direct investment in the company, that could be a sign that such a request is either pending or imminent. However, none of the entities has stated that this is taking place.
The announcement of the investments brought good results for PH Resorts and Bloomberry in trading. The former added 18%, while the latter gained 8.2%. Compared to the 0.6% drop in the Philippines stock index at the time, the results are even more impressive.
New Regime, New Future
Uy is a regular fixture in the Philippines casino industry. He was the first to receive a casino license from then-President Rodrigo Duterte, his long-time friend, in 2017. However, since then, there have been bumps along the road as he tried to expand his empire.
The first phase of Emerald Bay was initially set for completion by the third quarter of this year. That changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the timeline to be pushed out a year.
Duterte’s views of gaming began to waver not long after he gave Uy the license. He stopped and started casino developments virtually at will, as he leaned toward the political flavor of the day.
The Philippine gaming industry has undergone a number of changes since then. Now, with Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. taking control of the country, there may be a change in trajectory once again. With the second-richest man in the Philippines backing additional casino developments, it’s likely he knows something the rest of the gaming market doesn’t.
The investment follows shortly after Bloomberry and Solaire received a small dose of vindication. Some of the $81 million from the 2016 Bangladesh Bank heist allegedly made its way through the casino, where the thieves laundered it.
The bank sued Bloomberry as a result. But a New York judge tossed out the case last month. However, it’s too early to celebrate, as the judge rejected the suit over lack of jurisdiction. That means the bank can try again elsewhere.