International edition
September 27, 2021

Regulator says it must offer higher investment

Caesars eyes Philippines for its next casino

(Philippines).- Caesars Entertainment has been told it must invest at least USD 1.5 B if it wants to build a casino in the Philippines, an up-and-coming gaming destination that has lured some of the world's biggest casino operators. Last month, Philippine President Benigno Aquino met with top Caesars officials, with the casino operator following up the San Francisco meeting with a written expression of interest to invest in the country, Cristino Naguiat, chairman of the state gaming firm, Pagcor, said.

T

he government now requires new casino investors to put in a minimum of US$ 1.5 billion, half a billion dollars more than the initial investment paid by the four casino licensees in the 100-hectare (247 acres) gaming and leisure complex known as Entertainment City in the capital Manila.

"If we bring in something new, it has to add value to the development of Entertainment City," Naguiat said. "They will be facing new terms of reference - the new investors."Naguiat added that other American gaming companies, which he did not name, were also interested in investing in the country.

New casino firms would also have to search for parcels of land on their own as the government  no longer has  any more available land to offer, he said.

Bloomberry Resorts opened the first phase of its US$ 1.2 billion casino-resort last year at Entertainment City. This will be followed in December of this year by the  US$ 1-billion+ joint venture by local firm Belle Corp and Melco Crown Entertainment, called City of Dreams Manila. Alliance Global Group, and Genting Hong Kong, partners in the casino-hotel firm Travellers International Hotel Group also expect to complete their casino-resort project by 2017.

A fourth investor in Entertainment City, the local affiliate of Japan's Universal Entertainment said last month that it expects to open its US$2 billion casino resort project in 2016, a year later than planned.

Pagcor's Naguiat reiterated that the government will penalize Universal and forfeit the company's 100 million pesos (US$ 2.23 million) performance bond if it does not complete construction of the project by March next year as indicated in its project implementation plan.

Aquino said his cabinet was still debating allowing a fifth private casino operator.

"There are some sectors that are saying they will not add to the gaming revenues of government. There are those who are saying Caesars is a brand name that tells the world that essentially we have arrived," Aquino told an annual forum of foreign journalists. "I am still awaiting the a consensus  from the cabinet," he said.

Caesars said the Philippines represents a compelling market opportunity for the group. "It's still early in the discussions, but it would be a great complement to our upcoming integrated resort in Korea, the start of a network of Caesars-branded IRs in Asia," said Steven Tight, President of International Development at Caesars.,  

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