Boost for Philippines tourism from integrated casino resort


Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has unveiled a US$1.5 multi-billion dollar project by Australian media tycoon James Packer to build its own integrated tourism hotel and casino complexes, in competition with Singapore’s soon to open resorts complex.

“The deal with Packer will be signed within the next few weeks,” PAGCOR spokesman Dodie King, said. “I cannot say anything at this stage, but talks are continuing.”

Confirming the negotiations involve a payment of $100 million deposit, Packer’s consortium, Bloomsbury Investments, is the second casino operator to be granted a license to operate a casino, after Malaysia’s Genting Group.

The integrated resort will form part of a $20 billion project which PAGCOR hopes will turn 120 ha (297 acres) of reclaimed land on Manila Bay into one of Asia’s biggest gaming and resort destinations. “It will be on par with Macau.”

The Bagong Nayong Pilipino-Manila Bay Integrated City project is expected to inject a total of up to $3 billion into the Philippines economy, comprising investments in hotels, casinos, entertainment complexes and a golf course.

“We require a certain level of development as well as minimum investments of $1 billion for each project,” said Efraim Genuino, chief executive of PAGCOR. “We found project concepts of four bidders most acceptable. In the next five years the four bidders are expected to invest a total of $10 billion in the Philippines economy.”

A local daily, the Philippines Daily Enquirer, estimates the resort complexes will boost foreign tourist arrivals by up to 3 million annually and generate over 250,000 new jobs in addition to payment of taxes, creating additional business opportunities in the construction, IT, food and beverage, hospitality, entertainment and transportation industries.

Two other bidders, Japan’s Aruze Corp and SM Investments Corp of the Philippines have also announced plans to operate its own integrated complex.

Construction work on the project is expected to start by year’s end.