Aruze to open its first casino

Aruze, the Japanese maker of pinball, pachinko and other gambling machines, said it plans to open its first casino resort – in the Philippine capital of Manila – by early 2010.

The company, which owns about 24 per cent of Wynn Resorts, was granted a provisional gaming licence last month by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), the government casino monopoly that wants to build a huge casino and entertainment complex.

Aruze has acquired a 30-hectare property in Manila worth USD 300m, signalling it is moving ahead with plans to build its first casino resort estimated to cost at least USD 1bn.

The project includes a 2,000-room hotel and a giant Ferris wheel similar to the London Eye.

„The Philippine project represents the core element of our casino resort operation business,“ Aruze said in an e-mailed reply to questions from the Financial Times.

Pagcor is banking on the USD 15bn project called „Entertainment City“ to turn the Philippines into one of Asia’s leading gaming and tourism destinations in the next decade.

It expects the project to boost tourism arrivals from under 3m a year now to more than 15m a year when the project is completed after five years.

Pagcor has also granted a provisional gaming licence to Travellers International Hotel group, a joint venture of Philippine property developer Alliance Global and Star Cruises, the world’s third-biggest cruise ship operator.

Star Cruises is owned by the Genting Berhad Group of Malaysia, which is developing one of two casinocentred integrated resorts in Singapore’s Sentosa Island, and holds the franchise for developing Universal Studios theme parks in Asia.

Travellers‘ casino resort, which is estimated to cost at least USD 1.1bn, is scheduled for completion by December 2009.