t the sidelines of the Economic Journalist Association of the Philippines-San Miguel Corp. Business Journalism seminar, Pagcor chairman Cristino Naguiat said that its Entertainment City project is expected to generate us$ 10 billion by 2016, when all four casinos become operational.
“This is easily achievable considering that Singapore’s gaming revenues reached us$ 5.5 billion in 2011 and is targeted to hit us$ 7 billion this year,” he said, adding that Singapore only had two operating casinos in 2010.
Belle Corp. of the Sy-led SM group; Travellers Hotel International Group, a joint venture between Alliance Global Group and Genting Hong Kong; and Universal Entertainment and Bloomberry Resorts and Hotels have been granted licenses to build hotels and casinos in the area.
With a minimum investment of us$ 1 billion from each of the companies, the Entertainment City will have a capacity to accommodate one million tourists, a tenth of the Department of Tourism’s tourist arrival target of 10 million by 2016. He said that these resorts will target whole families and package gaming with tours of various destinations in the country.
To improve access to the Entertainment City, the four locators are setting up a us• 138.3 million fund to finance the construction of a toll road connecting it to the three terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Naguiat said that the government could bid the project by next month under its public-private partnership program.
The Entertainment City project will significantly boost Pagcor’s revenues in the medium-term. This year, the agency’s revenues is expected to grow by a quarter to us$ 1 billion from us$ 830.2 million in 2011, as it continues to package gaming and tourism to overseas travelers, Naguiat said.
The Pagcor chief added that renegotiation of contracts with licensees and services providers will allow the agency to get a bigger share of their revenues. Pagcor is considering closing the operations of two nearby Pagcor casinos, one in the Heritage Hotel and the other near the international airport, whose lease contracts will expire in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
Naguiat assured that the affected employees will be absorbed by other casinos with the four Entertainment City locators expected to hire a large number of experienced gaming personnel.