The Philippines’ gaming regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), says it is “not aware” of a suggestion that a venture involving Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd has an intention to scrap plans for a casino resort on the country’s holiday island of Boracay.
“Pagcor would like to clarify that it did not receive any communication from Boracay Philippines Resort and Leisure Corp (BPRLC) since the provisional gaming licence was signed last March 21, 2018,” the gaming regulator said in a written reply to GGRAsia.
It added: “Pagcor is not aware of any alleged withdrawal of nor amendment in BPRLC’s intent to operate a casino in Boracay.”
Hong Kong-listed Galaxy Entertainment announced in December a US$500-million investment for the holiday island of Boracay, in partnership with Leisure and Resorts World Corp.
BPRLC is described as a special-purpose vehicle of AB Leisure Global Inc, which operates as a subsidiary of Leisure and Resorts World. The latter company provides the land and the gaming licence for the Boracay project, while Galaxy Entertainment will be in charge of the scheme’s development and operation.
GGRAsia approached Galaxy Entertainment for a comment but had received no reply before this story went online.
Pagcor clarification comes on the heels of comments of an official of that country’s Department of Tourism, hinting that Galaxy Entertainment and its partner had shelved plans to develop the Boracay casino resort.
“Galaxy [Entertainment] has said they are now looking for another site [elsewhere in the country]. That is very much welcome,” said on Tuesday Frederick Alegre, assistant secretary of the Department of Tourism, according to local media outlets.
Mr Alegre however clarified later on Tuesday that he had been asked during the conference if the Boracay scheme had been abandoned, replying that if that were true “it would be a welcome development”. The official added that the Department of Tourism had not received any official communication from Galaxy Entertainment or its local partner about their plans.
Leisure and Resorts World issued a statement on the same day, saying there was “no final decision” regarding the project. “Following protocol, no change in plans or project location would be made without prior consultation and agreement with Pagcor,” said the Philippine-listed company.
The scheme has been described as a “low-rise” development on land including beachfront. Leisure and Resorts World – via one of its subsidiaries – has already acquired a plot of land covering approximately 23 hectares (56.8 acres) in the Barangay Manoc-Manoc area of Boracay.
The Philippine government has announced that Boracay will be closed to tourists for six months starting from April 26. The shutdown is referred to as an environmental clean up initiative.
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