MANILA, Philippines - Solaire Resorts and Casino operator Bloomberry Resorts Corp. isn't too worried by competition from the soon-to-open City of Dreams Manila in Entertainment City.
In fact, Bloomberry Resorts president and chief operating officer Thomas Arasi said they're happy that another integrated hotel, gaming and entertainment resort project is finally opening in Entertainment City.
"Integrated resorts are unusual in that you actually want to be close to your competitors. The reason is that people want to go to an area where they know they can get multiple experiences. They can go to different casinos, restaurants and shows. Critical mass is important, so when we look at the medium and long-term, we're much happier they will open," he said in an interview on ANC.
City of Dreams Manila, a joint venture between the local unit of Hong Kong's Melco Crown Entertainment Limited and SM Group's Belle Corp., is expected to open later this year.
With the opening of more casino-resorts, Arasi said Entertainment City can achieve critical mass and become one of the powerhouses in the integrated resorts business in Asia.
"We think we will do a lot of what they do, but we're gong to have our own brand. The secret sauce we have, which we're proud of, is the famous, world-renowned Filipino hospitality. Every area has its attributes. but we think no one can compete with us -- the level of experience and the high-touch nature of what we can offer, because of the culture and what that means to integrated resorts business," he said.
Bloomberry is currently preparing to open Phase 1 of Solaire's expansion by November this year.
"It more than doubles the size that we currently have, which is significant... It really changes the tone of the property because there are so many more facilities and amenities that are beyond the basic gaming experience," Arasi said.
The expansion would include a 1,800 seat state-of-the-art theater, night club, cigar and whisky bar, karaoke bar, more restaurants, and additional meeting rooms.
"Our VIP gaming will increase capacity by two-thirds, by focusing on those high-end international travelers coming in. We're excited about all that," Arasi said.
A shopping mall at the Solaire complex is expected to open by 2015. Bloomberry had earlier tapped Ayala Land to operate the mall.
"We have what will not be the biggest, but the nicest shops and shopping experience in the Philippines," the Bloomberry chief said.
Bloomberry recently reported its net income in the first half hit P2.3 billion, a significant improvement from the P1.03 billion net loss last year. This was on the back of P14.15 billion gross revenues, more than three times its revenues last year.