Villar finalizes deal with Korean group for $1-B casino venture in Las Piñas
MANILA -Business tycoon Manuel Villar Jr. aims to be the country’s newest gaming mogul with the opening a $1-billion casino and hotel venture in Las Piñas City in partnership with a Korean group.
Villar declined to name the Korean casino partner but he said they had been in discussion for some time and that a deal has been finalized.
“We plan to start operations this year or the latest is up to the first quarter of next year,” the billionaire told reporters in a recent interview.
A Korean partner was selected given the size of their tourism market. Koreans were the No. 1 source of foreign visitors to the Philippines as of April this year, according to the Department of Tourism.
Villar said they would convert the Vista Mall Global South shopping mall in Las Piñas into a casino. This will be the first of two gaming projects within the area.
“This will be a satellite. It’s not the main body,” he said.
Villar said his next casino, potentially to be located near its Evia lifestyle hub in Las Piñas, will be a much bigger venture.
These projects are located within the tycoon’s Villar City, a budding 3,500-hectare development that straddles 15 cities and municipalities in the southern part of Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
“Villar City is the undertaking of a lifetime. I probably don’t even think I can finish it [while I’m alive]. It’s too big,” he said.
Villar also plans to build a world-class indoor arena, theme park and golf course in Villar City apart from housing, commercial centers, hotels and office buildings. The entire development could take decades to complete.
The tycoon, who founded Vista Land & Lifescapes Inc., said he remained bullish on the property sector despite the impact caused by the entry and gradual exodus of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators.
“It’s still too early for the Philippines in terms of our state of development,” he said.