Philippines premium mass sector tipped for growth

The Philippines is in a strong position to capture a growing share of the premium mass market to help diversify its tourism base, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.

The industry in the Philippines has been reliant largely on the local mass market, though with the development of new IRs in the Entertainment City hub in Manila the proportion of revenue derived from tourism has risen.

“There is still a very big domestic gambling presence here but one needs to differentiate and elevate that to go after the premium player as the domestic market can only take you so far,” analyst Margaret Huang told delegates at the ASEAN Gaming Summit.

She points out that Sands China generated at $17,000 in win per unit per day in Macau in Q4, which is triple the levels being generated in Manila currently.

“That in itself is an opportunity,” she said. “It’s a segment that Macau is going after and these guys can very easily come in here and roll the way they roll and come in as a VIP player.”

Huang said her optimism stems from the improving quality of the resorts, with the IRs in Entertainment City now outpacing other segments.

“In addition to providing a one-stop shop, it also has Macau-based operators who can bring in the junkets relationships and the Chinese gamblers interested in coming to the Philippines.”

She also pointed to the natural beauty of the islands and the growing number of resort projects springing up around the country.

“Galaxy signing that deal will bring in another elevated product to really lift the results and the product for the country,” she said, referring to Galaxy Entertainment’s plans for a resort on the island of Boracay.

However, the Philippines is facing growing competition for the tourism dollar, with resorts springing up around Asia as well as at home and Huang said cannibalization is likely to be an issue.