A casino once planned for Cebu in the Philippines is no more. Megawide Construction Corp. had discussed putting up a gambling house next to the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA), but is now backing off of those plans, according to the Manila Standard. It will, however, continue with its hotel project at the location, which will see three hotels on the site. The first hotel is expected to break ground sometime later this year.
The chief corporate affairs and branding officer of Megawide, Manuel Louie Ferrer, commented on the changes last week, adding that the casino project became untenable. It would have been a joint project between the company and Dennis Uy, a businessman based in Davao, but Uy’s Udenna Corp. is already involved in an integrated resort on Punto Engaño Peninsula on Mactan Island, located in the Cebu province.
The first hotel, a 350-key property is expected to open within two years and will be managed by an international operator yet to be announced. Ferrer stated, “We will soon sign an agreement with an international hotel operator to manage the hotel,” adding that there is considerable draw for MICE (meeting, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) facilities in Mactan and perhaps not as much for gambling.
The second hotel will be developed by an Asian hotel operator and the third by a local Megawide-connected company. All three should provide a total of 1,000 rooms.
In addition to the hotels, Megawide already operates Terminal 2 at the MCIA in conjunction with India-based GMR Infrastructure. That terminal opened in July 2018 and increased the airport’s capacity to 12.5 million passengers a year from the previous 4.5 million. It also includes 6,000 square feet of retail space.
It isn’t clear if President Rodrigo Duterte’s moratorium played a part in the decision to abandon the casino plans. Uy is reportedly an associate of Duterte and Uy and Megawide had discussed the possibility of offering a casino in the ten-acre tract of land earlier this year before the idea was tabled.
Uy’s Udenna Corp, through its PH Resorts Group Holdings, Inc., is moving forward with its casino on Mactan. It has already secured $420 million in funding for the project, dubbed The Emerald, and is expected to finance around $600 million for the construction, while using company equity for the rest.