The Solaire Resort and Casino in Manilla, Philippines, has a novel addition to its loyalty program. Owner Bloomberry Resorts Corp plans to reward its best customers by giving them a little ownership in the form of stock.

Solaire Resort and Casino, Manila

Bloomberry stock is pretty hot right now, and the Solaire Resort and Casino plans to give some of it away to its best customers as part of an innovative new player rewards program. (Image: Bloomberry Resorts)

This week, subsidiary Bloomberry Resorts & Hotels Inc announced it had purchased 382,900 shares in its parent company for the sole purpose of dolling them out to their most avid gamblers as part of a new marketing program. The board has authorized the sale of up to 2 million shares for the same purpose.

Fingers in Bloomberry Pie

The slices of pie the company is handing out are obviously small, but the pie is hot. Trading on the Philippine Stock Exchange, Bloomberry has seen its share price over the past year escalate as close to a clean, 45-degree incline as stock charts ever get.

The Philippine casino market is booming, and so are its biggest operators. In May last year, analysts at Bloomberg declared Melco Crown Philippines to be “the hottest stock in the world.”

And Solaire parent Bloomberry is not far behind. In 2017, the company made $116.3 million in profit over the first three quarters, almost four times higher than its earnings for the same period a year earlier. The company also plans to begin construction this year of a second integrated casino resort, in Quezon City, north of Metro Manilla, which is likely to add extra long-term value to its stock.

Chinese Tourism Boom

The market is benefiting from a new influx of Chinese tourism. This has been spurred by Philippine President Rodrigo Durterte’s efforts to mend diplomatic relations between his country and China, the regional economic superpower, at the expense of a longstanding relationship with the US.

At the same time, a corruption crackdown initiated in Beijing has stemmed the slow of gamblers from the Chinese mainland to Macau.

China and the Philippines had previously been at loggerheads over disputed territories in the South China Sea, but Duterte’s diplomacy has opened the door to the new, upwardly mobile Chinese middle classes and high roller, alike.

In the first two months of 2017, tourism from China was up 25 percent, with Chinese visitors representing 14 percent of all visits to the country. That’s likely to grow in the wake of a deal agreed in 2016 between the two countries that relaxes visa requirements.

All of which is potentially good news for the future beneficiaries of Solaire’s new frequent player program.