First, it was Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay. Now, it’s Cebu Representative Eduardo Gullas.
The list of Philippine lawmakers that have voiced their support for Pagcor’s Entertain City project is growing by the day and Gullas, a legislator from the city of Cebu, being is the latest to back the country’s largest casino and entertainment project.
In a statement, Gullas echoed the sentiments of his contemporaries, saying that the Entertainment City project could be the kind of tourist attraction that officially puts the Philippines as one of the premier entertainment destinations in the region. Gullas even cites Singapore as an example, saying that “integrated resort and gaming projects are powerful drivers of tourism revenue growth, as may be gleaned from Singapore’s recent experience.”
Gullas was quick to point to the staggering increase of Singapore’s tourism revenue from 2009 to 2011, a time where the country’s income increased from $10.2 billion in 2009 all the way up to $17.7 billion in 2011. The staggering increase – a 74% increase in tourist revenue – can be attributed to a number of factors, one of which was the opening of the Marina Bay Sands resort in the middle of 2010.
The Cebu rep’s backing of the Entertainment City project aligns with what the country’s current vice president said earlier this month. In a story that ran in the Manila Standard Today, Binay was quoted saying: “The Entertainment City will certainly spur tourism development in various areas in the country, with the hope of attracting foreigners to visit their localities and see their respective tourist attraction and facilities.”
Pagcor CEO Cristino Naguiat Jr. has been on record saying that the Entertainment City project is expected to be more than just one of the premier tourist hubs in the region; it will also open up and create as many as 1 million new jobs a year for local gaming experts, entertainers, performers, artists and service sector staffers.
The Pagcor Entertainment City project is something that we have kept a close eye on for some time now. We already know what Macau and Singapore are capable of. And while the Philippines has no illusions of overtaking Macau as the gambling mecca of Asia, it does have some aspirations of cutting a piece of that multi-billion dollar gambling pie.
“A 10-percent share in the $115-billion global gaming pie will give the Philippines $11.5 billion in revenue,” said Naguiat in a statement.
If the whole project lives up to the hype that it’s been getting, we won’t be surprised if they end up earning that much – or maybe even more.