Universal Entertainment Corp officially announced that its local representatives in the Philippines have taken charge of the operations of one of the biggest and most popular gambling resorts, Okada Manila. The move has come as the latest step in a disagreement that has been going on for quite some time.
Universal Entertainment issued a statement accompanied by a copy of an order issued by the local gambling regulatory body on September 2nd. According to the order, the takeover of the Okada Manila resort, which is estimated at $3.3 billion and is considered the biggest in Southeast Asia, had been “generally peaceful”.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR), which is the regulatory body empowered to issue such an order, said that it was no longer supporting the recognition of board members of the developer and operator of Okada Manila – Tiger Resorts, Leisure and Entertainment (TRLEI) – that were previously appointed as such by a group associated with the Japanese mogul Kazuo Okada. The Philippine gambling regulator also directed the local partners of Okada Manila to stop operating the casino and pay out money from the property’s coffers.
PAGCOR also shared that only Mr. Okada would be recognized from this moment on, in compliance with an order issued in April by the Philippine Supreme Court that reinstated him as a stockholder, chairman and director of Tiger Resorts, Leisure and Entertainment.
As previously reported by CasinoGamesPro, Mr. Okada was removed from the boards of both TRLEI and Universal Entertainment back in 2017.
Okada-Linked Group Refuses to Obey the Philippine Supreme Court’s Order
After the announcement of Universal Entertainment Corp., the Japanese pachinko mogul and the group of his Filipino associates openly refused to obey the Supreme Court order. They did not provide any more details on the situation but said they intend to take legal action over the issue.
In a notice issued after the above-mentioned order from PAGCOR, Okada Manila shared that business remains as usual at the gambling and entertainment resort.
The Okada Manila resort started operation late in 2016. Currently, it is the largest one of four multi-billion-dollar casino resorts operating in Manila, offering 3,000 electronic gaming machines, 500 table games and almost 1,000 suites and villas available for accommodation.
Now, the governance of the resort has been returned to Universal Entertainment Corporation, after being run by the Japanese billionaire for approximately three months. As reported by CasinoGamesPro at the time, the corporate offices of the integrated casino resort were raided by Mr. Okada-linked group on May 31st. The raid occurred after TRLEI, the immediate parent company of Okada Manila, was ordered by the Philippine Supreme Court to restore its board to the 2017 arrangement, when Mr. Okada was still a chairman and director of the entity.
In 2017, Kazuo Okada was forcibly removed by Tiger Resorts, Leisure and Entertainment from the organization that oversees the Okada Manila casino, following allegations that the then-chairman was using company money for his own personal benefit. These allegations have been repeatedly rejected by the billionaire, who has ever since been trying to regain control of Universal Entertainment and TRLEI.