Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc – a firm controlled by Japanese gaming entrepreneur Kazuo Okada that is developing the Manila Bay Resorts casino property (pictured in a rendering) in the Philippines – told GGRAsia by email on Monday that it is “actively targeting to open the property by 2016”.
The timetable for operations at the resort has been subject to a number of statements and clarifications in the past three months.
Under a reported agreement between Tiger Resort and the country’s casino regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor), the property should have opened by March 31 this year.
But Tiger Resort has not yet announced a local real estate partner for the scheme. Local media have reported that the need for a local development partner relates to a requirement under the country’s constitution and public land laws that only Filipinos, or entities owned at least 60 percent by Filipino citizens, are allowed to own land. That restricts Mr Okada and his majority-owned companies to just 40 percent ownership of the land on which the resort is located.
“We will be announcing our local partner in the very near future,” added Tiger Resort in a Monday email to us.
A previously slated property partner for the scheme – Philippines real estate company Century Properties Group Inc – on Thursday said that it was withdrawing a lawsuit against companies controlled by Mr Okada, clearing the way for a new local partner.
It was reported by Reuters on May 11 that Pagcor had confiscated a PHP100-million (US$2.2 million) guarantee payment from Tiger Resort, citing the missed March 31 deadline for opening.
The likelihood Tiger Resort would be unable to meet that milestone had been flagged several months ago. In March, the Philippines media reported – mentioning sources that were not identified – that Tiger Resort would be allowed to “complete” the resort by the first quarter of 2017.
Reuters’ May 11 story said that in February Tiger Resort sought an extension of the deadline to the second quarter of 2017, citing changes in the design of the integrated casino-resort project. The scheme was started in 2012.
But Reuters said Pagcor had denied the extension request and had warned it might suspend the site’s provisional casino licence. The report said if that happened the gaming firm would not be able to operate its casino even if it completed the project.
“We’ve given them a 90-day period to explain why their licence should not be suspended. We are in that 90-day period since April 21,” Reuters quoted Francis Hernando, a vice president of Pagcor, as saying on the sidelines of a hearing in the country’s congress regarding casino scheme completion dates.
“Given that we have submitted a request for extension of our provisional licence for the first quarter for 2017, we are actively targeting to open the property by 2016. Our Phase 1 spans across our hotel, casino, nightclub and the iconic fountain with a variety of…restaurants..,” Tiger Resort said in a Monday email to GGRAsia.
Tiger Resort said in an earlier email also on Monday: “Tiger Resort is currently in review with Pagcor regarding extension of our project implementation plan. Having already committed approximately US$750 million into the project, with a further US$1 billion pending, and having completed more than 50 percent of the construction we believe we are in compliance with the terms of the provisional licence.”
The company added: “We have reviewed our options and have sought a reconsideration from Pagcor on our request for extension of completion date for our project.”
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