Hong Kong-listed International Entertainment Corp says it will have to invest between US$1.0 billion and US$1.2 billion to develop an integrated resort (IR) with a casino in the Philippines capital, Manila. The investment pledge is part of an agreement with the country’s gaming regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), for a provisional licence to establish and operate a casino, said the company in a Wednesday filing.
On Wednesday, two Philippine units of International Entertainment – Marina Square Properties Inc and New Coast Leisure Inc – were granted a provisional license “to establish and operate a casino and the development of an integrated resort in the city of Manila,” stated the filing.
It added: “Pagcor shall issue the regular casino gaming licence upon completion of the project and upon approval … of the licensee’s compliance with the implementation plan in relation to the actual total project costs.”
The project entails the revamp and expansion of an existing property in Manila that is controlled by Marina Square Properties, the New Coast Hotel Manila (pictured).
The entire development of the new integrated resort “shall have a total gross floor area of at least 250,000 square metres [2.69 million sq. feet],” stated International Entertainment.
“It comprises a hotel with approximately 800 five-star hotel rooms, a casino, restaurants, leisure facilities and shopping arcades,” it added.
The company said that some elements of the project “may change depending on market conditions,” but “without in any way diminishing the investment commitment amount”.
The existing casino at New Coast Hotel Manila operates in premises leased out by International Entertainment to Pagcor. International Entertainment furbishes the casino with gaming equipment, including slot machines.
Marina Square Properties has a cooperation agreement with Pagcor regarding the management and operations of the existing casino at New Coast Hotel Manila. As part of that agreement, Marina Square Properties has taken part in the management of the casino and “gained its expertise in the operation and management of a casino”.
Following the granting of the provisional gaming licence, the International Entertainment group will “commence the casino transition to take over the operation of the existing casino”.
Under the agreement with Pagcor, the casino investor “shall hire at least 50 percent of all Pagcor employees who are currently directly involved in the gaming operations” at New Coast Hotel Manila.
The agreement also states that “at least 95 percent of the total [number of] employees for the project shall be locally hired.”
Wednesday’s filing said the provisional licence enables the group “to operate and manage casino business and gambling activities independently”.
“The provisional licence will provide an opportunity for the group to participate in the gaming and entertainment [industries],” in addition to its hospitality operations, potentially boosting “future earnings”, stated International Entertainment.
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