Expect more casinos to open outside the Philippines’ capital city of Manila in the near future.
The local casino regulator is reportedly willing to issue more gambling licenses in the regional locations for about $300 million, which is about one-third of the cash investment that the government previously asked from investors who wanted to put up a casino in Manila, Bloomberg reported.
Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) chairman Cristino Naguiat told the news outlet in an interview that there are areas outside of Manila that are “very ripe for a casino,” so the agency is “open to giving out a casino license if it can help boost economic activity and if the people in the area want it.”
The country has already issued licenses for four casino resorts to be built in the 120-hectare development project Entertainment City with a minimum investment of $1 billion each. Kazuo Okada’s Tiger Resorts Leisure and Entertainment is set to open the country’s biggest casino property, the $2 billion Manila Bay Resorts, later this year.
Once its first phase opens, Manila Bay Resorts will join the two Entertainment City projects that have already opened to the public: Bloomberry Resorts’ Solaire Resort and Casino and Melco Crown Entertainment’s City of Dreams Manila. The fourth and final Entertainment City project, Resorts World Bayshore, a joint venture between Genting Group and Alliance Global Group, is scheduled to open sometime in 2018.
Last year, leisure estate and gaming company Belle Corporation, which has a stake at City of Dreams Manila, had already expressed its interest to bid for new licenses. Belle CFO Manuel Gana previously said they are “interested in bidding for any casinos outside Metro Manila.”
However, Pagcor said at the time it will only offer licenses after all the four projects at the Entertainment City are completed.