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Philippine Casino Stocks Surge on Gaming Revenue Growth Forecast

Philippine casino stocks surged after the nation’s regulator said gaming revenue could increase 20 percent this year even as China’s anti-corruption crackdown has weakened revenue in other parts of Asia.

Bloomberry Resorts Corp., operator of the Solaire casino in Manila, jumped 8 percent at the 3:30 p.m. close of trade, the steepest rise since September 2013 and the biggest gainer on the Philippines Stock Exchange Index. Melco Crown Philippines Resorts Corp., operator of City of Dreams Manila, soared 8.8 percent, halting a three-day slump. Travellers International Hotel Group, which runs Resorts World Manila, posted its first gain in eight days.

First-half gaming revenue at the country’s casinos grew 16 percent to $1.4 billion, Philippine Amusement & Gaming Corp. Chairman Cristino Naguiat said in a telephone interview. There’s a “good chance” it will reach $3 billion this year as he has predicted before, he added.

China’s crackdown on graft has curbed gaming revenues in the region, with Macau posting a 37 percent decline in the first half of the year as the campaign kept away Chinese gamblers. Genting Singapore Plc has also been hurt.

“It’s proof that the Philippines has a good mix of foreign markets and that there are many who really want to come to the Philippines,” Naguiat said. “Bloomberry is raking the numbers in, while Melco has been steadily bringing in the people,” he said, adding that it’s getting tougher for tourists to get hotel rooms at the resorts.

South Korea Tourists

Tourist arrivals in the Philippines increased 8.2 percent to 2.23 million in the first five months of the year, with most coming from South Korea, who accounted for 24.5 percent of the total, followed by the U.S. and Japan, according to government data. China is the fourth largest source of tourists, with a 7.1 percent share.

Philippine gaming revenue could have been higher if not for China’s anti-graft campaign, Naguiat said. The nation’s gaming revenue rose 14 percent to $2.5 billion last year from 2013.

– Ian C. Sayson, Bloomberg

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