The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) in the Philippines is proposing a new casino resort in the zone and also possibly a financial technology or “fintech” centre including “blockchain centre, cryptocurrency mining farm, fintech start-up incubators and cryptocurrency exchange” with the help of a Chinese company, according to local media reports.
The Manila Bulletin newspaper quoted Raul Lambino, identified as CEZA administrator and chief executive, saying that a Taiwanese firm and two major investors in CEZA had expressed interest in creating a cluster of tourist attractions, including a casino gaming complex, hotel and villas, water theme park, golf courses, a horse-riding area and a premium duty-free outlet shopping mall.
Separately, the Manila Times newspaper reported that CEZA and Sinosun Subic Bay Holdings Corp had signed an agreement last Thursday for tourism development and a fintech centre. Sinosun and a Chinese partner – described as “China Energy Construction” – planned to build a 20-megawatt power plant nearby this year. The news outlet quoted Sinosun chairman Samuel Lim as saying that “cryptocurrency farming needs a lot of electricity”.
Some providers of online gambling services allow consumers to pay for them via cryptocurrency. But a number of national governments regionally and internationally have expressed concern about potential volatility in the valuation of cryptocurrencies, and the potential for a lack of transparency in terms of the origin of fiat currency used to acquire virtual currency.
Business risk consultant Steve Vickers recently told GGRAsia on the sidelines of an event in Macau that cryptocurrencies offered potential means to dodge China’s efforts to stem capital outflow. Only since January 4 this year have Philippines casinos been given a mandatory responsibility to file anti-money laundering reports.
It was reported last year that First Cagayan Leisure and Resorts Corp, CEZA’s master licensor for overseas-targeted online gambling businesses operating out of the zone, had lost business since the Philippine government had assumed greater oversight of the online gambling sector.
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"If you ask who is controlling [Okada Holdings, the controlling shareholder of conglomerate Universal Entertainment] now, I would say my control was fraudulently taken away from me and I am now doing everything in my power to take it back"
Japanese gaming entrepreneur