Landing International Development Ltd (LIDL) says it has received provisional approval to build a $1.5b resort casino in the Philippines’ capital of Manila.
On Wednesday, LIDL briefly halted trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange pending a major announcement. Later, the company revealed that its subsidiary Landing Resorts Philippines Development Corporation had received a provisional license to establish and operate a casino within NayonLanding, the integrated resort it plans to build in Manila’s Entertainment City gaming zone.
LIDL says the provisional license agreement it has reached with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) is valid for a 15-year term from the date issued or until July 11, 2033. Landing noted that the license doesn’t permit the resort to offer video streaming or internet gambling, unless PAGCOR declares otherwise.
LIDL has committed to spending at least $1b (and likely up to $1.5b) on its Entertainment City venue, which the company hopes to open by “early 2022.” The company has scheduled a groundbreaking ceremony on the development site on August 7.
The company cautioned that the project’s fate was contingent upon it receiving “other approvals” necessary to commence construction, “and these may or may not be granted.” Ordinarily, this is a boilerplate clause, but in LIDL’s case, nothing can be taken for granted.
Just last month, government auditors expressed concerns over the legality of the land lease deal LIDL had struck with its local partner, the Nayong Pilipino Foundation. The Philippine Commission on Audit expressed alarm at the favorable terms that LIDL had secured, which were far less steep than lease prices paid by other Entertainment City operators.
Should the project go forward, LIDL is promising a Filipino cultural theme park, an indoor waterpark, an indoor movie-based theme park, a convention center, luxury hotels, retail and dining areas, along with a 28k-square-meter gaming floor with a “sky casino” theme.
LIDL chairman Dr. Yang Zhihui (pictured) thanked PAGCOR “for their vote of confidence” in granting the provisional license, while pledging that the planned resort “will contribute positively” to the nation’s tourism sector – particularly via guests from South Korea – and create “significant job opportunities” both in the construction phase and afterward.
Entertainment City currently boasts three active resort casinos – Solaire Resort & Casino, City of Dreams Manila and Okada Manila – while Travellers International’s West Side City Resorts World is planning a 2020 launch.