2 casino resorts to rise on Boracay
The tourist island of Boracay will have not just one, but two major casino operations after the country’s chief gaming regulator disclosed that another integrated resort—operated by a joint venture of tycoon Andrew Tan and Malaysia’s Genting Group—has been in the works since before President Duterte assumed office.
Speaking to the press on Tuesday, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. chair Andrea Domingo said the government agency approved the proposal of Resorts World Manila to have gaming operations at the Savoy Hotel at Megaword Corp.’s Boracay Newcoast development.
“This one made their application and submitted all their requirements in 2014,” she said. “So that one has also been approved and they [already] built a hotel.”
The chief gaming regulator said Resort World aimed to begin operations as early as four months from now, but she expressed doubts as to whether this schedule could be met given than the contract with Pagcor has yet to be signed.
“We’re still scheduling the contract signing for that, though I think it took almost four years for them,” Domingo said.
Meanwhile, the Pagcor chief said the contract signing for a new $500-million integrated casino resort with Macau’s Galaxy Entertainment Group and its local partner, AB Leisure Exponent Inc., would proceed as scheduled on Wednesday.
AB Leisure is a unit of publicly listed Leisure and Resorts World Corp.
In addition to these two large integrated resorts, the Pagcor chief pointed out that there were also two other casino junket firms with smaller operations located at Movenpick and Crown Regency resorts on the island.
The new integrated resorts on the island—as well as in the rest of the country—will also have to comply with the same room-to-slot machine and room-to-gaming table ratios prescribed for the bigger developments at the Entertainment City complex in the Manila Bay area. However, due to their provincial locations and smaller footprints, owners will be required to invest only at least $300 million instead of the $1-billion floor for the bigger casino resorts in the capital.
In the case of the Galaxy integrated resort, Domingo said construction would take anywhere between two and three years. As such, it would not be affected by the planned closure of the island for a six- or 12-month cleanup.
She stressed that, in light of President Duterte’s directive to clean up the ecologically sensitive resort island, regulators were paying close attention to the environmental protection plans of the project proponents.
“Of course, if you’re investing $500 million in a hotel, you wouldn’t dump your waste into the [sea],” the Pagcor chief said.
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