Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd said in a Wednesday press release that a wholly-owned unit had been granted a provisional gaming licence by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), the casino regulator in that country.
Hong Kong-listed Galaxy Entertainment announced in December a US$500-million investment for the holiday island of Boracay, in partnership with Philippines-based Leisure and Resorts World Corp. The latter company has interests in the land-based and online gambling sectors in the Philippines.
“We would like to thank Pagcor for their vote of confidence in granting Galaxy Entertainment a provisional gaming licence in the Philippines and the opportunity to strategically expand our brand into overseas markets,” said Francis Lui Yiu Tung, deputy chairman of Galaxy Entertainment, in comments contained in Wednesday’s release.
“We are pleased to support President Duterte and the Philippine government’s initiative for the managed and sustainable development of Boracay,” added Mr Lui’s statement, referring to that country’s head of state, Rodrigo Duterte.
Andrea Domingo, head of Pagcor, was quoted several days ago in the Philippine media saying that Galaxy Entertainment’s Boracay project was unaffected by a proposal to shut down the tourism industry on that island for as much as one year, for what was described as an environmental clean up.
Mr Lui noted in his comments that the project would “contribute positively to the local economy and actively partner with the Boracay community”.
He stated: “We are confident that we will raise the bar in both resort quality and service and generate significant job opportunities in both construction and resort operations.”
Mr Lui also claimed the project was an expression of the company’s commitment to China’s “Belt and Road” initiative, which seeks to develop infrastructure in countries and places along China’s traditional trade routes with the outside world.
The company press announcement said the expansion of an airport serving the island would help it attract the firm’s “affluent customers from China, Hong Kong and Macau,” among other places.
Galaxy Entertainment added the scheme would be a “low-rise” development on land including beachfront. Leisure and Resorts World Corp confirmed on Monday that 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.
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"The casinos have to operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The decision [to suspend casino operations] is up to the government. As of now, we don’t have any plan to change the existing regulations"
Lei Wai Nong
Macau Secretary for Economy and Finance