While the eyes of the gambling world are firmly fixated on Pagcor’s Entertainment City project in the Philippines, another casino site in the country is expected to get its own infusion of gambling options.
Video game publisher IP E-Games Ventures Inc has bought a Php 70-million property in the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport (CEZA) where it plans to set up casino operations. The land area for the planned casino complex covers 36,000 square meters and IP E-Games is bent on establishing itself as one of the major investors in CEZA through its subsidiary, RAN Online, Inc. (ROI). The state-of-the-art casino is expected to offer a full range of games, including blackjack, baccarat, craps, roulette and slots.
The whole idea to invest in a casino at CEZA was born from the Philippines’ desire to become one of the premier gambling stops in the Asian region. The move is being spearheaded by Pagcor’s Entertainment City project, which has already began work in time for its opening in the next few years.
IP E-Games Ventures Inc. hopes to ride on that momentum and is looking at profiting from a “spill over” effect from gaming tourists looking for an alternative gambling site in the country. CEZA, in particular, offers a strategic location for a state-of-the-art casino to rise. The zone is within spitting distance of the new Cagayan International Airport, which is set to open in the next few years, possibly as early as 2013.
The airport is expected to service flights to and from a number of Asian countries, including Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, and Korea, opening up CEZA to an influx of tourists, a lot of whom will probably arrive with gambling itches to scratch.
For the Philippines, the dream has always been to see a significant increase in tourist visitors. Even Philippine president Benigno Aquino Jr. hasn’t hidden his desire to reach a benchmark of 10 million visitors in the country by 2016. This year, the Philippines is expected to have 4.6 million inbound tourists, and while that number is still a fraction of the intended target, it’s still an impressive spike from the 3.9 million visitors that entered the country in 2011.
The country hopes to follow in the footsteps of Singapore, which saw a sizable influx of tourism income from 2007 to 2009, a number that can be greatly attributed to its burgeoning casino market.
For its part, IP E-Games is banking on this increased number of tourist visitors to the country, and they’re certainly putting a hell of a lot of chips on the table with their casino investment at CEZA. Whether it pays of or not remains to be seen, but from the looks of things, it’s an investment that’s certainly worth taking.