BUSINESS

Melco Crown wants slice of Manila casino project pie

TAGs: asian gambling news, Galaxy Entertainment Group, Macau, melco crown, Philippine Amusement & Gaming Corp

ManilaMacau based casino operator Melco Crown Entertainment has expressed interest in a $1 billion Manila casino project, the Philippine gambling regulator Pagcor said yesterday.

In a report by Reuters, the firm run by Australian billionaire James Packer and son of Macau gambling tycoon Stanley Ho was “very interested” in the project according to chairman of the state-owned Philippine Amusement & Gaming Corp (Pagcor), Cristino Naguiat.

That wasn’t all the gossip Reuters managed to bag from the chairman either – he also let on that Hong Kong-listed Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd was eyeing up a project in the 100-hectare Entertainment City near Manila Bay, which will begin construction late next year.

As Macau’s largest casino operator, Pagcor awarded four licenses in 2008 and the following year in 2009 to operate casino resorts in the Manila Bay area. Pagcor is rubbing its hands together at this prospect as it expects the resorts to generate annual gambling revenue of up to $11 billion after five years of operation. If that happens, it would overtake Las Vegas – something Pagcor is gagging to do.

When asked if Melco was looking for local partners, Naguiat didn’t know for sure but he did say in Reuters’ report that Galaxy was in talks with local groups and “could be” in discussions with local property and leisure firm Belle Corp – controlled by the country’s richest man Henry Sy – for a partnership.

According to reports, three other groups are pursuing developments in Entertainment City, including Japan’s Universal Entertainment Corp and their enormous $2 billion casino-hotel project set for completion in 2014.

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