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Jason Ader – Universal reclaiming Okada Manila is “the right thing”

September 12, 2022 Philippines Casino & HotelIndustry Updates

Gambling Insider has spoken to Jason Ader, CEO & Founder of 26 Capital Acquisition, a partner of Universal Entertainment. Ader discusses Universal’s reclamation of the Okada Manila, which was taken by force in May this year by the company’s deposed Co-Founder and board member, Kazuo Okada.

What’s your take on the events that unfolded at the Okada Manila Friday 2 September 2022, when Universal retook the casino?

Obviously, we’re a merger partner of Universal Entertainment at 26 Capital Acquisition. So I really want to extend compliments to Jun Fujimoto, CEO of Universal Group and the rest of the team. They’ve done well to get the casino back. It’s my opinion that what happened at the Okada Manila, where Kazuo Okada took control, was unlawful. It was an unlawful takeover. I certainly think that the Philippine Amusement Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) made the right decision legally, in ordering the occupation of the casino by Okada and his associates as unlawful. I know that Fujimoto at Universal worked hard to get this issue resolved for Universal’s shareholders.

With the Okada Manila now back under Universal’s control, does this help in the efforts of 26 Capital Acquisition to get Universal on the US stock exchange?

It clears things up for Universal for sure. I’m personally really excited by the Philippines market, especially given the challenges that Macau faces. Certain parts of the market are doing better now than before the pandemic. But even so, I think next year (2023) is going to be an absolute peak year for the Philippines market. I expect it to continue to grow after that. At 26 Capital, we couldn’t be more excited by our merger and supporting Universal in the market with the Okada Manila casino.

Why do you think PAGCOR took so long to get involved with the occupation of the Okada Manila?

I think PAGCOR and PAGCOR only will know why. It’s a question for them because I just don’t know. I used to listen to the lawyers and read the legal briefs. And I think, in the end, the Status Quo Ante Order (SQAO) given to Okada did not give him authorisation to take over the building and replace the board. In fact, that very motion is in the courts and has not yet been moved on. It just takes time to cycle these things through the legal process, but PAGCOR’s order for the Okada Manila to be handed back over was the right decision. And of course, we look forward to moving forward with the merger.

What does the future look like for Kazuo Okada now? His associates have been removed from the board, but because of the SQAO, Okada remains a board member. How will this relationship work?

You know, I don’t want to comment on what Okada may or may not do. But the ownership of the building, the Okada Manila, has never been in question. Universal Entertainment owns over four billion shares. The SQAO awarded to Okada means that he gets one share and a seat on the board. So you can do the math as to who has true control of the casino. Now that Universal Entertainment is in control, this is something consistent with its status as the legitimate owner.

Source: https://www.gamblinginsider.com/news/18094/asia-round-up-jason-ader-universal-reclaiming-okada-manila-is-the-right-thing
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