JAPANESE gambling magnate Kazuo Okada said he plans to retire in the Philippines as he is impressed by the country’s labor force. He formed the view from observing the Filipinos at work in the integrated resort in Entertainment City in Parañaque that was named after him.
In a statement, Okada said he is “determined” with his retirement plan in the country, which he can do so as a holder of an investors/retirees visa.
Okada said he had an opportunity to become the next big thing in the US casino scene some 10 years ago, but he opted to invest in the Philippines instead, seeing its huge potential for development.
Okada cofounded Wynn Resorts with Steve Wynn, initially investing around $260 million for a 50-percent stake in the company.
He had a chance to take over Wynn Resorts as Wynn was in the middle of a divorce, but 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.
He decided to invest in the Philippines, even if the trend back then was for investors to go to China.
“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,” Okada said.
Okada suffered several setbacks as he was removed as a director of Okada Holdings Ltd., which controls 68 percent of Universal Entertainment Corp.
Universal owns almost all of Tiger Asia, which owns the local operator of Okada Manila, Tiger Resorts Leisure and Entertainment Inc.
With his removal from Okada Holdings, he was also taken out from Tiger Resorts in June last year.
Okada, however, was able to regain control of Okada Holdings Ltd. and is currently in the process of regaining his place in Tiger Resorts through an intra-corporate lawsuit that he filed before the Parañaque Regional Trial Court.
He asked the local court to reinstate him as shareholder, director, chairman and CEO of Tiger Resorts.