This Year of the Rooster is for Chinese an auspicious year for gaming. To take advantage of this, publicly listed MJC Investments Corp. (MJIC)—a partnership between Asia’s oldest horse racing club Manila Jockey Club Inc. (MJC) and a Hong Kong-based investor group—enters the gambling market with a property located near Binondo, Manila’s Chinatown.
Next April, Winford Hotel & Casino will have a grand opening at the San Lazaro Tourism and Business Park in Sta. Cruz, Manila, occupying part of the land where the old Manila Jockey horse racing track has been redeveloped . The new entertainment complex is already partially operational.
Built on a much smaller scale than five-star casino resort properties along the Manila Bay, the new Winford is a 22-story 128-room deluxe boutique hotel-casino complex representing an investment of PHP7 billion (US$140 million) in investments. he important investment shows the commitment of the real estate tycoons MJIC president and CEO Alfonso “Boy” Reyno Jr.,who wants to create a new iconic place in an emerging district of Manila.
Winford Hotel, with its reflective exterior golden glass reminiscent of gaming hubs in Macau, was built by renowned architect Jose Pedro Recio of Rchitects Inc. Inside, it is all about special marble and mother-of-pearl pillars coated with shimmering gold.
Winford is also one of the few hotels in the metropolis with a heated swimming pool, a good proposition to urban dwellers who like to spend some weekends on a “staycation” mode. The Winford is also looking at attracting MICE events and incentive travellers with large bedrooms and an elegant and spacious ballroom that can accommodate 800 guests in dining-style.
The complex has a three-level entertainment and gaming area of around 7,500 square meters (sq m) with 600-700 gaming machines sourced from the US and Australia and 159 gaming tables.
The gaming component of Winford is a joint venture between MJIC and the state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor). Mr. Reyno estimates that the success of the hotel will come from its proximity to the heart of Binondo (20 minutes away by car), still the heart of Filipino Chinese. Foreign Chinese businessmen are also targeted especially as the area lacks deluxe accommodation..Property consulting firm Colliers International sees more Chinese visitors flocking to the Philippines following President Duterte’s visit to China in October last year, during which the Chinese government lifted negative travel advisories against the Philippines. Based on figures from the Philippine embassy in China, the number of Chinese nationals applying for tourist visas to the Philippines has surged to 1,400 daily in the fourth quarter of 2016 from only 400 daily in the previous quarter.