New casinos rising in Cebu
Carlo Lorenciana (The Freeman) - May 23, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Casino operators are likely seen to build footprint in Cebu with the increasing foreign tourist arrivals and rising disposable income.

Joey Bondoc, senior research manager at Colliers International, shared this view as the companies of two of the country's notable businessmen are building casino resorts in Cebu.

John Gokongwei's Universal Hotels and Resorts Inc. is building an P18-billion integrated casino resort on Kawit Island at the South Road Properties in Cebu City. First phase of the project includes the construction of a shopping center, integrated resort facility, convention center, performing arts theater, a theme park, one hotel, parking lot, and casino.

While the Udenna Group, owned by Davao tycoon Dennis Uy, is building its integrated resort and casino in Lapu-Lapu City called The Emerald. The casino project will stand on a 13.5-hectare property that will house a main gaming area, non-gaming amenities and a 300-meter beachfront.

Both casino projects had already been granted license for gaming by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR).

Bondoc explained that casino operators are enticed to establish footprint in Cebu "because of rising disposable incomes of locals as well as continued growth in foreign tourist arrivals."

"Foreign tourist arrivals have been rising in Cebu. And it is important to note that it is not just the arrivals that are increasing but also the average daily expenditure of foreign visitors," he told The FREEMAN.

Casino operators are also enticed by the modernization and expansion of Mactan-Cebu International Airport, he noted.

"Direct flights from China, South Korea, and other countries with high-spending tourists should further prop up Cebu’s attractiveness as the next major casino and leisure spot in Asia Pacific," Bondoc further added.

As casino investments eventually gain ground, land and property prices are likewise seen to increase in Cebu.

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