I have just been to Macau and three Macau casino operators told me they want to invest in the Philippines," Ambassador Francis Chua special envoy on China trade and investments told The STAR.
In an interview at the sidelines of the first general membership meeting of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) yesterday, Chua said Macau businessmen are looking at other investment destinations because the cost of land in their country has gone up.
"The real estate in China has overheated that is why they would like to consider other investment opportunities," Chua explained. Chua said Chinese businessmen would like to invest as soon as possible. "I am going to talk to PAGCOR to inquire if there are still openings in the Entertainment City.
Chua refused to divulge how much the investment for the three hotels and casinos will be revealing only that it is a "sizeable amount." "It will be big. It will definitely reach billions because they will build hotels that are comparable to the ones in Macau," Chua noted.
Earlier, Pagcor chairman and CEO Ephraim Genuino said that as much as us$ 20 billion would be spent in putting up the Entertainment City also known as PAGCOR City located in the reclaimed land near Manila Bay. "The project is a shift (for Pagcor) from gaming into entertainment. We will form a Las Vegas in the Philippines," Genuino said about the project.
Pagcor city will be built in three phases on 800 hectares of reclaimed land. The first phase will host a hotel-resort and theme park. The next two phases will have retirement villages and entertainment centers.
Genuino said that only 25 percent of the total land area has so far been reclaimed, with the rest to be added as the project gets underway. He said they are already in talks with Greek casino and resort operator Loutraki-a major player in the European gaming industry-for the development of Entertainment City’s first phase.
"We have also spoken with Ceasar’s Palace and Genting," he said. Ceasar’s Palace is an American firm while Genting is from Malaysia. Genuino said 90 percent of the funds for the project will come from foreign investors. Other funders from Japan, Europe, the US and South Korea have also signified interest in financing the project.