he Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) hopes to bid out the contract this year for the us$ 10-billion development of the first phase covering 42 hectares, company chairman Efraim Genuino said on the sidelines of an international gaming conference in Manila.
“Loutraki is the biggest gaming operator in Europe. It's from Greece,” said Genuino, who expects development of the first phase to be completed in two to three years. “We're just finalizing the technical requirements before we start bidding them out. They're (potential investors) still waiting for the technical requirements so that they can comply."
The Philippines, which has a total public sector debt of 87.7 percent of GDP as of June 2006, is eager for investments and the tax revenues gambling provides. Its casino monopoly Pagcor, which currently operates 13 casinos nationwide, is its biggest source of state income after taxes.
Genuino is hoping to hit the jackpot with the massive gaming and leisure project which would be built on an 800-hectare site of reclaimed land in Manila. He was also hoping to generate more investments under a looser Congressional franchise.
Under the new Pagcor Charter, which is pending at bicameral conference committee, the Philippine casino operator may now enter into joint ventures with private investors.
The project, called Bagong Nayon Pilipino Entertainment City, is envisioned to be a total entertainment complex, complete with casinos, resorts, restaurants and a theme park.
"This will be a total entertainment package. It's not just gaming but an entertainment complex for the family," Genuino said. “To attract tourists, we the design and approach to the project must be new compared to other Asian casinos."