In light of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent public show of distaste for the casino industry, Landing International Development (LID) might have put the cart before the horse. LID has announced plans to build an “integrated leisure and entertainment resort” in Paranaque City, and has already signed a lease for 9.5 hectares (23.75 acres) of land. The plans might fizzle out before they can even begin to percolate.
LID, owners of the Jeju World Integrated Resort in South Korea, has begun working on trying to get approval from Philippine authorities for the resort, which is going to prove to be a monumental task. The resort, if green-lighted, will have a cultural theme park, an indoor “movie-based” theme park, a convention center, hotels, a retail mall, an indoor waterpark and additional commercial facilities.
LID didn’t specifically mention that it would apply for a casino license. However, based on its South Korean operations, it’s a fairly safe bet. In a filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, LID said of the resort: “The Integrated Resort, if approved and completed, will add to the group’s portfolio of world-class integrated destination resorts with premium leisure and entertainment facilities which cater local and overseas visitors of all ages currently headlined by Jeju Shinhwa World in Jeju, South Korea.”
The Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corp (PAGCOR), which oversees gambling licenses, announced in February that it would not be issuing any more casino licenses. The decision was prompted by President Duterte, who is looking to curb gambling activity in the country. While LID could receive a license for its project, since it doesn’t specifically mention a casino, PAGCOR is taking a closer look at the application to prevent any future attempts for LID to exploit a loophole.
In January, the no-nonsense leader of the country ordered a moratorium over concerns that the casino industry was becoming overcrowded. In 2017, casinos in the country recorded gross gaming revenues of $1.71 billion, in just the first six months of the year. This was an increase of 12% over the previous year’s take.
Paranaque City lies on the outskirts of Manila. It is a major trade and business hub in the area due to its strategic location and is also a popular fishing area. It is home to three casinos, the Solaire Resort & Casino, City of Dreams Manila and Okada Manila.