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Philippines – Let Group makes Westside City project in the Philippines its top priority

By - 31 March 2023

With revenues for Let Group Holdings in 2022 reaching HK$394.3m, up 34 per cent year on year, the gaming operator known previously as Sun City will now focus on the development Westside City project in the Philippines as its top priority.

It said ‘construction works are going ahead at full steam in Manila.’ Podium level construction is completed with efforts now pivoted to building the hotel tower upwards. A soft opening is targeted to launch before the end of 2024 with a grand opening to be in 2025.

Lo Kai Bong, Chairman of LET Group Holdings, said: “We firmly believe that this project is the cornerstone of our future success, as we strive to seize new growth opportunities in the Philippine integrated resort market. On the financing side, the project is going to secure a loan from a local financial institution through LET Group’s subsidiary, Suntrust Resort Holdings, that provides the necessary capital to deliver a world-class integrated resort experience unparalleled in the region.”

It will open with 300 tables, over 1,300 electronic gaming machines, over 450 five-star hotel rooms including state-of-the-art party rooms and suites, and all sorts of amenities that fit the LET theme Leisure, Entertainment and Taste, including the privileged LET Club, Cigar and Wine bars, night clubs, Wellness Spa, and a Director’s Club.

Mr. Bong added: “A local bank’s approval of the project, based on its familiarity with the local business environment, can be regarded as a vote of confidence that bolsters investor sentiment. This serves as a recognition for Westside City Project, as well as for the Group’s managerial expertise and operational capabilities. Such resounding validation by the local industry is an indicator of the Project’s promising prospects. By partnering with a preeminent local conglomerate, we can navigate the local landscape with care and cultural competence while bringing LET Group’s unrivalled expertise in Asia gaming to the table,” he added.

“Westside City Project is our large-scale flagship development that will introduce a unique and unequalled mix of hospitality, gastronomy, retail, and gaming to Manila’s Entertainment City,” he added. “This project represents our most significant growth opportunity, underpinned by a compelling investment case — especially in light of challenges encountered at our other integrated resort in Vietnam. In contrast, the Philippines permits local Filipinos to frequent integrated resorts, conferring a degree of stability and resilience, which is why developing the mass market segment will be a key component of the Westside City Project. While we plan for the project’s entertainment facilities and amenities, we emphasize the preferences of the mass market segment, aiming to position Westside City Project to become a leading iconic integrated resort in South East Asia that tailors to the tastes of the mass market. Westside City Project is exceptionally positioned to deliver strong and stable financial outcomes across our portfolio of integrated resorts in the future.

The company still has a share in Tigre de Cristal in Russia, where geopolitical tensions in Russia, have inevitably slowed down development of Phase II,

Mr. Bong explained: “The decision to slow down the development at Tigre de Cristal Phase II was a prudent business decision reached after careful consideration and analysis. The current commercial climate in Russia poses difficulties in guaranteeing a consistent return on investment to our parent company listed in Hong Kong.”

The company also holds a 34 per cent stake in Hoiana, an integrated resort near Hoi An, where GGR reached US$82.5m in 2022, an increase from US$20.8m in 2021.

“Hoiana has seen a spike in business volumes and occupancy rates ever since its soft opening in mid-2020, breaking successive records month after month,” Mr. Bon said. “Although record performance is a notable achievement, its foreigner-only admission policy to the gaming floor currently acts as its key impediment to growth, with visitation hinging on the status of regional travel restrictions. However, as constraints ease and visitation regains momentum, we are confident that Hoiana will cement its stature as Vietnam’s premier hospitality destination.”

He concluded: “While we regard the future with prudent optimism, our primary focus remains at the Philippines integrated resort. With a dedicated team and the necessary funding ready to be deployed, we are confident in delivering a world-class experience and capturing the market’s unique opportunities. We remain committed to our vision and will overcome challenges that may emerge.”

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