Casino resort investor Landing International Development Ltd says it remains confident of obtaining a gaming licence from the Philippine casino regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), to develop and operate a casino resort in Entertainment City, in Metro Manila.
“We have obtained all the other approvals, we’re just waiting for them [Pagcor] to process our application,” said Jay Lee, chief operating officer of Landing International. “We are confident we will get the Pagcor provisional licence,” he added.
Mr Lee (pictured) was speaking on Wednesday after a keynote speech, part of the conference session “Business Trends for the Integrated Resort (IR) Model in Asia Pacific”, moderated by Michael Grimes, a principal at GGRAsia, at Global Gaming Expo (G2E) Asia 2018 at the Venetian Macao casino resort.
Landing International’s chairman and executive director, Yang Zhihui, said in March that the firm’s application for a gaming licence from Pagcor had been “under negotiation” since “last year”.
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 Hong Kong-listed Landing International was advised to “secure a clearance” from Mr Duterte for its Entertainment City project.
Landing has “been working on this project pretty much since last year. It has been presented to the President and also to his cabinet and his ministers last year,” Mr Lee recalled on Wednesday.
The Landing International COO was one of the company’s representatives who met with Mr Duterte in September last year about developing a “theme park integrated resort” in the Philippines.
Landing International said on April 30 one of its subsidiaries had agreed to lease 9.5 hectares (23.5 acres) of land in Entertainment City, in the Manila Bay area for a casino scheme featuring a planned construction floor area of approximately 500,000 square metres (5.38-million sq feet).
The project would include “among other” things, a “casino, a Filipino cultural theme park, an indoor water park, an indoor movie-based theme park, a convention centre, luxury hotels, retail and dining areas, and other commercial and entertainment facilities”, the company said in a filing. The casino resort would be named “NayonLanding”.
On Wednesday Mr Lee emphasised the importance of using the resort “to showcase the Philippines to the world”. “That’s one of the things governments are looking for, namely in Japan,” he stressed. “That’s where integrated resorts will be moving to in the future”.
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President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China