Hong Kong-listed casino investor Landing International Development Ltd says that a wholly-owned unit has been granted a provisional gaming licence by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), the casino regulator in that country.
The company said in a Wednesday press release that the provisional gaming licence was granted to Landing Resorts Philippines Development Corp, “to operate a casino at the integrated leisure and entertainment resort within Entertainment City,” in Metro Manila.
The parent company said there would be a ground breaking ceremony on August 7 for its new casino project in the Philippines, with the firm expecting to begin operations “in early 2022”.
The Philippines casino resort – dubbed NayonLanding – has a price tag of US$1.5 billion, according to Wednesday’s statement. The project “is expected to be financed by internal financial resources and cash flows from its [Landing International’s] operations and borrowings,” said the Hong Kong-listed company.
“Currently, there are no plans to raise capital from the equity capital market, whether via rights issue or private placement, to fund the development of the integrated resort,” it added.
The firm said in a Wednesday filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that “upon the completion of the integrated resort and Pagcor’s approval that the actual total project cost of the integrated resort is in compliance with the approved project cost based on the project implementation plan, Pagcor will issue a regular casino gaming licence to Landing Philippines”.
“The provisional licence and the regular licence shall together be valid for 15 years from the date the provisional licence is issued or until July 11, 2033,” the firm stated, adding that, upon expiry, the regular licence could be renewed by Pagcor.
“Unless otherwise consented to by Pagcor, Landing Philippines cannot engage in video streaming or internet gaming,” stated the filing.
The document stated that the casino at the integrated resort would have a gross floor area of approximately 28,000 square metres (301,389 sq feet) with a ‘sky casino’ theme. It added that the firm was allowed to feature the following games in the property “and any variations and derivatives thereof approved by Pagcor”: baccarat, blackjack, pontoon, roulette, casino war, craps, stud poker, big and small, money wheel, pai-gow, pula at puti, slot machines, electronic gaming machines and poker.
Landing International added that the master development plan for the integrated resort, which would detail the number of gaming tables, slot machines and electronic table games within the casino, had “not been finalised” nor submitted for Pagcor’s approval.
“We would like to thank Pagcor for their vote of confidence in granting Landing Philippines a provisional gaming licence in the Philippines and the opportunity to strategically expand our Landing brand into the Philippines,” said Yang Zhihui, chairman and executive director of Landing International, in a prepared statement included in Wednesday’s release.
Landing International currently operates the Jeju Shinhwa World casino resort in Jeju, South Korea.
Mr Yang said additionally that the investment in the Philippines “is an ideal opportunity” for the company to expand its footprint into Southeast Asia, “hence taking a major step towards Landing International’s aspiration to be a leading premium integrated resort operator in the region.”
He added: “NayonLanding will be able to leverage on the growing brand equity in Jeju Shinhwa World to attract more Koreans and tourists in the region to visit the Philippines.”
Landing International had said in a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in early May that the legislature of the City of Parañaque, in Metro Manila, had approved the group’s plan to develop and operate a casino resort at Entertainment City, an area earmarked for casino resort development in the country’s capital.
The Philippines imposed on January 13 a nationwide pause on issuing further casino licences, after President Rodrigo Duterte raised concerns about the “proliferation” of gaming venues in the country.
On May 1, Andrea Domingo, the head of Pagcor, told local media that Landing International was advised to “secure a clearance” from Mr Duterte for its Entertainment City project. Landing International’s Wednesday release made no reference to the matter.
The firm said its subsidiary had agreed to lease 9.5 hectares (23.5 acres) of land in Entertainment City, in the Manila Bay area (pictured). The parent company said the casino scheme features a planned construction floor area of approximately 610,000 square metres.
The release added that the project would include a “casino; an indoor cultural theme park and water park featuring the Philippines’ rich history, culture and heritage; an indoor movie-based theme park; a convention centre; luxury hotels; retail; and dining areas”.
(Updated 9:45am, July 26)
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