Philippines gaming to surpass Singapore: Okada

Universal Entertainment Corp. chairman Kazuo Okada says the Philippine gaming market could soon surpass Singapore as more Chinese tourists flow into the country, local media reports.

Okada made the comments last week, praising President Rodrigo’s efforts in improving relations with China.

“A lot of Chinese are coming into the Philippines, and that will improve more as improving bilateral relations between China and the Philippines increase tourism here,” said Okada in an interview, quoted by Manila Bulletin.

“The Philippine gaming market will become bigger than Singapore” within years, he added.

On the topic of Japan, Okada warned about being too gung-ho about the new casino market due to its aging population.

“I don’t have very high expectations when it comes to the gaming industry in Japan because economic growth has been very stable,” he said.

“Another reason is that Japan is an aging society, so probably not a lot of people will be spending.”

Nevertheless, he has confirmed his interest in investing in a casino in the country.

“I am very much interested in investing in Japan also for a casino –  but I feel that the rules would take a year to be fully-established, so we will consider it for one year,” said Okada.

Universal Entertainment is a manufacturer of gaming machines in Japan known as Pachinko.

“It’s one way to promote tourism to Japan, and it’s also a way in Japan to provide a different form of gaming other than pachinko to the people.”

 Okada says he is keeping his focus on Okada Manila, which held a soft opening on December 21, with a grand opening scheduled for the first quarter of 2017.