State-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) is back to peddling two parcels of land where Solaire Resort and Casino stands after investors snubbed its first auction two months ago.
GGRAsia reported that PAGCOR has put two lots, with a combined area of 160,359 square meters (1.73 million sq. feet), up for auction this week after the state regulator failed to receive bids from prospective investors the first time around.
The bidding procedure for the two parcels of lot remains the same, according to the report. PAGCOR set the starting bidding price for the twin lots at PHP 37.23 billion (US$726.6 million), which must be paid in cash.
Since Solaire has the leasehold rights for the lots, Bloomberry Resorts Corp., through its unit Sureste Properties Inc., has the right to match “the highest complying bid for the properties.”
The Philippines has strict protections when it comes to real estate ownership. The country’s constitution prohibits foreigners from directly owning property in the country.
PAGCOR emphasized this when it said that “prospective bidders must be Filipino citizens or otherwise authorized by the law.” Investors raring to get a foothold in Entertainment City must get a Filipino partner or create a corporation that would be 60 percent owned by the local partner.
Bids will be opened to interested parties on January 26.
PAGCOR casino privatization to happen in 2018
Meanwhile, the Philippine Finance Department announced that the sale of PAGCOR’s state-run casinos will happen this year.
The Manila Bulletin reported that casinos will be sold in the coming months as PAGCOR focuses on its regulatory functions. At least 17 casinos will be up for sale this year, according to the report.
Philippine Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, however admitted that the plan wouldn’t be as simple as selling goods “because there were lots of complicated contracts involved.”
According to the report, a draft executive order on casino privatization has already been submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte’s office.
PAGCOR, which is mandated by law to remit half of its annual gross earnings to the Bureau of the Treasury, operates 46 casino properties nationwide.