Okada Manila owner rescues Cebu casino project

Lea Hogg 4 months ago
Okada Manila owner rescues Cebu casino project

In the vibrant casino sector of the Philippines, where corporate dreams have in the past often manifested into reality, captivating details of a new deal unfold.

PH Resorts Group Holdings, guided by the ambitious spirit of Davao-based tycoon Dennis Uy, has cast its gaze upon the central Philippine island of Cebu. This is the setting for the suspended Emerald Bay Resort and Casino project—a dream momentarily dimmed but now reignited by an unexpected saviour.

Tycoon offers financial lifeline

In a strategic manoeuvre, Uy’s PH Resorts has inked a tentative agreement with none other than the owner of the illustrious Okada Manila—Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment.

This collaboration promises to breathe life back into the dormant casino resort, nestled in Mactan, Cebu. The integrated marvel, poised on the edge of completion, envisions a five-star beachfront hotel, twin 15-story towers boasting 642 rooms, bustling retail outlets, and a massive spirited gambling area featuring 700 electronic gaming machines and 140 tables.

Uy, the visionary chairman of PH Resorts, shares his hopes for the partnership, expressing, “In PH Resorts’ partnership with Okada Manila, we hope to turn Emerald Bay Resort into a symbol for, and a catalyst of, the development of Cebu as the center of the Visayan tourism market in the Philippines.”

End to troubled project

This marks Uy’s third attempt to secure financial backing for the beleaguered project. Prior attempts, including an overture to billionaire Enrique Razon’s Bloomberry Resorts and negotiations with Cebu-based AppleOne Properties, were met with challenges. As Uy is sinking in mounting debts, his conglomerate, Udenna Corp, has been a theatre of asset sales, from a stake in the Malampaya gas field to shipping firm acquisitions.

Alliance expected to set into motion by July

The collaboration with Tiger Resort, a unit of Universal Entertainment, comes at a crucial juncture. Subject to regulatory approvals and the sealing of a definite agreement by July 2024, this alliance is a beacon of hope for Uy’s Cebu vision. Byron Yip, President and COO of Tiger Resort, expresses excitement about the venture, stating, “This new venture is aligned with our strategy to increase our footprint in the Philippines, given our remarkable success with Okada Manila. We are excited to bring our signature level of hospitality and service excellence to a new and discerning market.”

In a narrative laced with resilience, grandeur and financial intricacies, the Emerald Bay Resort and Casino project emerges as a symbol of tenacity. As the wheels of collaboration turn, the Cebu skyline anticipates a transformation, echoing the vibrancy of the Philippines’ spirit and the fortitude of its visionaries.

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