The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) is eyeing the holiday-island of Cebu as the Philippines’ next major gambling destination.
In a news conference during the ASEAN Gaming Summit, PAGCOR chair Andrea Domingo floated the idea of replicating PAGCOR Entertainment City in Cebu as she believes Manila is slowly becoming too congested for another multi-billion integrated casino resort.
“We listen to our investors. They asked us to give a five-year breathing space,” Domingo told reporters.
The Southeast Asian country, which is aiming to compete with Macau and Singapore casinos amid plunging revenues, has already allowed four resorts being built in the 120-hectare seaside Entertainment City complex in the capital with a minimum investment of $1 billion each.
Casinos at Entertainment City include the Solaire Resort and Casino, operated by Bloomberry Resorts Corp; City of Dreams Manila of Melco (Philippines) Resorts Corp; and Okada Manila of Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc. A property by Travellers International Hotel Group Inc is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2020.
As an alternative to Manila, Domingo said PAGCOR will expand the Philippine gambling industry outside Entertainment City within the next three to five years.
She said Cebu is an ideal gambling destination because it is the second largest city in the country as well as its accessibility to foreign and local gamers.
Domingo said they already approved two requests to build casinos in Cebu – one in Mandaue and another in Mactan.
Philippine-listed agricultural products firm Calata Corp. announced in August 2016 that it had forged an alliance with Sino and MRG to construct a 14-hectare casino resort on Mactan Island in Cebu, which would feature three hotels, a casino and entertainment complex, commercial, retail and conference facilities as well as a yacht club.
The construction of the proposed casino, however, suffered a setback after a group of potential investors carrying a US$1.4-billion casino investment backed out from the plan due to the political uncertainty in the country.
Domingo, however, pointed out that PAGCOR has given the construction of a casino in Cebu a three-year timeline.
Aside from Cebu, Domingo said they have also expanded casino gambling in the nearby province of Pampanga.
South Korean construction firm Donggwang Construction Co. Ltd., (DCC.) earlier announced that it is developing the $400 million Clark SunValley Resorts and Country Club project at the Clark Freeport Zone.
The project, which will have a casino, is expected to launch in the fourth quarter of 2017.