The Entertainment City project that will rise along Manila Bay is expected to create as many as one million jobs for local workers, while raising the government’s gaming revenues by more than fourteen-fold, according to the state-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.
However, the state gaming agency imposed stricter guidelines on investors to further raise the quality of the development and to ensure that these goals are achieved.
“Pagcor is committed to creating a multifaceted leisure and entertainment center that is internationally benchmarked,” Pagcor chairman and CEO Cristino Naguiat Jr. said. “This way, the Philippines can compete with the best in the world and attract the lion’s share of tourists.”
At present, the country’s total gaming revenues amount to around $800 million annually, but Naguiat said that a fully operational Entertainment City would be in a position to corner as much as 10 percent of the $115-billion global gaming industry.
“A 10-percent share in the $115-billion global gaming pie will give the Philippines $11.5 billion in revenue, making the country an even bigger destination than Las Vegas in terms of earnings,” he said. “If we succeed, we will generate an additional one million jobs and bring in a million more tourists.”
Four investors—Resorts World Manila developer Travellers International Hotel Group Inc.; the SM group; Bloomsberry Investments; and Japan’s Aruze group—have been licensed by Pagcor to develop the project.
One key commitment required from the licensees is for each of them to put up a hotel with at least 800 rooms prior to the opening of any casino. The minimum of 3,200 hotel rooms to be put up by the four licensees are expected to increase once tourist arrivals grow.
The licensees are also required to build a total of 250,000 square meters of leisure place, dedicating a maximum of 7.5 percent of the floor area for gaming. This will ensure that tourists will have access to not only casinos, but also to a variety of resort amenities and attractions.
“We want to make sure that all four players put in the appropriate investment to make Entertainment City Manila internationally competitive,” Pagcor vice president for licensed casino development Francis Hernando said. “With the licensees meeting stringent compliance standards, we can guarantee the quality of the developments and infrastructure in the project.”
The Pagcor chief said he was confident that the country’s strategic location in Asia and the local hospitality and service would be differentiating elements for the project.