Philippines potential entices Okada

November 19, 2018
Kazuo Okada

Japanese tycoon chose PH over US for huge investment venture.

SEVERAL years ago casino mogul Kazuo Okada had an opportunity to become the next big thing in the United States casino business, but he opted to invest in the Philippines  saying it has a huge potential for development.

Okada co-founded Wynn Resorts with Steve Wynn, initially investing around $260 million for a 50-percent stake in the company.

The Japanese casino magnate had a chance to take over Wynn Resorts as Wynn was in the middle of a divorce. However, Okada did not grab that opportunity as he was focused on his initial plan to put up a casino property in the Philippines.

“I hadn’t really had ambitions of doing so. Going back in time, back to 2008, I was thinking about moving forward and developing something with local partners in the Philippines in 2010,” Okada said in a statement.

Okada said he even enticed Wynn to join his business venture in the Philippines.

“I had explained to Steve Wynn that I found some local partners in the Philippines and invested into a property where a casino can be established,” added Okada, who said that back in 2010, the Philippines was ripe for development, with an economic growth of around seven percent.

Okada was impressed with the country’s labor force, calling it hardworking, highly skilled, and proficient in the English language. Thus, he decided to invest in the Philippines, even if the trend back then was for investors to gravitate to China.

Okada then made his dream come true with the multi-billion peso Okada Manila, an integrated hotel/resort/casino.

However, he suffered several setbacks as he was allegedly removed as a director of Okada Holdings Ltd, which controls 68 percent of Universal Entertainment Corporation. Universal owns 99.99 percent of Tiger Asia.

Okada’s removal as director of Okada Holdings Ltd. resulted in his unceremonious removal from Tiger Resorts Leisure and Entertainment, Inc. (TRLEI) in June 2017. TRLEI is the operator of Okada Manila.

Okada recently regained control of Okada Holdings Ltd. and is currently in the process of regaining his place in TRLEI through an intra-corporate lawsuit that he filed before the Paranaque Regional Trial Court (RTC).’

Despite this debacle, Okada remains determined to retire in the Philippines, which he can do so as a holder of an investors/retirees visa.