Macau's Galaxy bags provisional license for Boracay casino project

The entry of Galaxy in the country also comes on the back of warming relations between the Philippines and China. Photo from DENR Region 6

Macau's Galaxy bags provisional license for Boracay casino project
Ian Nicolas Cigaral ( - March 21, 2018 - 5:38pm
MANILA, Philippines – Macau casino giant Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. on Wednesday secured a provisional license from the Philippine government’s gaming regulator for its integrated casino-resort project in Boracay, which is expected to raise at least $100 million in annual revenues.
Galaxy's local partner, Leisure and Resorts World Corp., earlier said its subsidiary acquired 23 hectares of land in Barangay Manoc-Manoc, Boracay Island—where the $500 million casino project will be constructed.
LRWC is the listed gaming company founded by Rep. Alfredo “Albee” Benitez (Negros Occidental).
The planned integrated resort complex will push through despite the potential one-year shutdown of Boracay for clean up, after President Rodrigo Duterte called the Philippines' top tourist draw a “cesspool.”
The entry of Galaxy in the country also comes on the back of warming relations between the Philippines and China.
Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. Chairperson Andrea Domingo recently said officials from Galaxy who paid a courtesy call on Duterte last year assured the president that they will protect the environment.
According to LRWC, construction of the "eco-friendly" casino project will begin next year. Meanwhile, Galaxy said the joint venture will generate hundreds of jobs.

But wait, there's more

On Tuesday, Domingo said that apart from Galaxy’s integrated resort, a new casino by Resorts World, which may be operational in four months, will open at Megaworld Corp.'s Savoy Hotel in Boracay.
"The application for that started in 2014 and it has already been approved. They have built the hotel already," Domingo said.
However, Travellers International Hotel Group, Inc., operator of Resorts World Manila, clarified on Wednesday that the firms behind the second casino project in Boracay are separate from Travellers.
Nonetheless, Travellers confirmed that the companies planning to run a casino at the 559-room Savoy Hotel are also part of Alliance Global Inc.
Travellers is a venture between AGI and Genting Hong Kong Ltd. Meanwhile, Megaworld is the property arm of AGI which developed the Savoy Hotel.

'Two big steps backward'

The Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment, which is affiliated with the national democratic activist movement, meanwhile said the move to allow casinos on the island "smacks of hypocrisy, if not duplicity."
It said the crackdown on tourism establishments that strain the island seemed more meant "to eliminate competition from incoming Chinese business and capital investments whose entry into this country his regime so facilitated."
Citing government data over the past six years, Kalikasan said there have been an average of 781 visitors on the island per day. This is up from the 345 visitors that came to the island daily 20 years ago, according to Department of Tourism data. "Almost ten years ago, the [Department of the Environment and Natural Resources] had been calling for a 'tourism limit," it also said.
"Just imagine what would happen to the island if the 781 average number of visitors per day is increased by another 4,224 visitors per day, twice the average number of visitors an individual casino in Macau receives in a day. The average rate of 345 visitors per day has already been shown to be detrimental, what more with the influx of tourist-gamblers should this push through?" the group said.


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