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Manila shoots for place at Asia's gambling table with new mega-casino
Opening of Solaire Resort & Casino marks beginning of Philippines push to join ranks of Macau and Singapore
Manila’s newest and most luxurious casino has opened its doors, upping the ante in the Philippines' drive to compete with Asian gambling hot spots Singapore and Macau.
The US$1.2-billion Solaire Resort & Casino, an integrated resort on Manila Bay, is the first of four casino venues being built on prime, reclaimed land as part of a gaming and entertainment complex dubbed Entertainment City.
Solaire's 18,000-square-meter casino includes nearly 300 gaming tables for baccarat, blackjack, craps, money wheel, pontoon and roulette, as well as 1,200 slot machines and a 6,000-square-meter VIP gaming salon.
Other Las Vegas-style attractions include an entertainment lounge offering live music.
More on CNN: 5 best Macau casinos
As for the resort, Solaire has 500 guest rooms, suites and villas as well as 15 dining options. Villas range in size from 600 to 1,000 square-meters and overlook Manila Bay.
Guests have access to a 24-hour butler service, private chef, in-suite spa facilities, a home theater and private pool and Jacuzzi.
Solaire was developed by Bloomberry, a publicly traded company listed on the Philippines Stock Exchange owned by billionaire Enrique Razon, Jr.
Gambling in the Philippines is regulated by government-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), which was established in 1976.
Though the Philippines has over a dozen casinos, the Solaire Resort & Casino is the first that puts Manila in a position to compete with the current leading Asian casino cities, Singapore and Macau.
According to a report in the Macau Daily Times, Solaire is placed well above Manila's Resorts World, which opened in 2010 just across from the international airport and quickly became the casino of choice among the country's high rollers.
"Industry analysts suggest that Solaire is likely to attract 30 percent of the business from Resorts World, particularly at the upper end," says the report.
Solaire Resort & Casino: 1 Solaire Blvd., Entertainment City, Metro Manila, Philippines; +63 (0)2 888 8888; rooms from US$220/night; www.solaireresort.com