Cebu slowly emerging as casino gaming hub
Carlo S. Lorenciana (The Freeman) - August 29, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Casino gaming could be Cebu's next major economic player.


Cebu is seeing the rise of integrated casino resorts moving forward as plans are underway. 

"Overall, we see these casino investments spilling over to major sectors of Metro Cebu’s economy," Joey Bondoc, research manager at Colliers International, told The FREEMAN yesterday.

"Residential, retail, and hotel are three property segments that will benefit from casino-related investments," he pointed out.

The Gokongwei group is building its proposed P18-billion integrated resort at the South Road Properties' Kawit property, a joint venture deal already closed by the conglomerate's Universal Hotels and Resorts Inc and the Cebu City government.

Davao businessman Dennis Uy's Udenna Corp is also building a $300-million integrated resort and casino on Mactan Island.

The project, which already broke ground, is to rise on a 12-hectare prime beachfront property in Punta Engaño in Mactan Island, Lapu-Lapu City.

August last year, Millennium Pan-Asia Hotel and Resort Inc had also obtained a provisional license from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) to develop a $300-million integrated resort and casino in Mandaue City.

The project will pioneer a landmark, mixed-use development in Mandaue, one of Cebu's fastest growing urban developments.

Bondoc believes Cebu "has the potential to become a major casino investment destination not just in the Philippines but also in the region as it is the second largest metropolitan economy following Metro Manila and among the most visited destinations in the country."

"It is the gateway to Visayas and Mindanao islands. Its popularity is also enhanced by its beach resorts and other tourist destinations. The comforts of an urban landscape balanced with natural attractions have been drawing foreign retirees and investors," he said.

Mactan-Cebu International Airport’s new passenger terminal should further boost Cebu’s attractiveness as a tourist and casino investment destination, he noted.

"Now the airport has larger capacity and this bodes well for Cebu’s leisure sector in general," the Colliers official said.

"We see high-spending foreign tourists and retirees contributing to sustained take up of luxury residential units in Cebu. The sustained demand for luxury residential condominium units is providing impetus for both local and national developers to intensify development of luxury projects across Metro Cebu," Bondoc explained.

"Aside from propelling demand for high-end retail due to the influx of high-spending local and foreign tourists, the overall consumer spending in Cebu should be driven by the generation of employment opportunities from increased casino investments," he said.

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