Debt-strapped American casino operator Caesars Entertainment Corp. said it still has the financial muscle to pursue its plan of putting up a casino in the Philippines, even as its largest unit teeters on the edge of bankruptcy.
In an e-mail reply to BusinessWorld on Nov. 15, Steven Tight, Caesars Entertainment president of international development, said: “While there has been speculation about a restructuring of one of Caesars’ operating entities, it would not impact our ability to finance a project in Manila if we were granted a license.”
Caesars, America’s largest casino operator with over 50 casinos in the US and five countries, last week reported a net loss for the third quarter, but said it remains in talks with lenders and creditors to reduce its debt, which was at $24.2 billion as of June 30, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Mr. Tight said Caesars will pursue a Philippine license to build an integrated casino near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, with construction targeted to start within five years.
“We are still awaiting a decision from the government on our proposal,” he said.
Asked if the American casino operator’s finances would be a concern, PAGCOR said in a statement to BusinessWorld on Nov. 16: “Discussions are only at a conceptual stage. It’s too early to think of anyone’s financial capabilities.”
The regulator said Caesars already submitted a concept proposal and met with it twice.
The four existing PAGCOR licensees are: the tandem of SM Group’s Belle Corp. and Melco Crown (Philippines) Resorts Corp. that is building the City of Dreams; Andrew L. Tan and Genting Hong Kong Ltd. that formed Travellers International Hotel Group, Inc. for Resorts World Bayshore; Enrique K. Razon, Jr.’s Bloomberry Resorts Corp., which opened Solaire Resort & Casino in March last year; and Japanese casino mogul Kazuo Okada’s Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment, Inc.
City of Dreams is set to open by first quarter next year; Mr. Okada’s casino resort by 2016; and Resorts World Bayshore by 2017.