The acting chairman of Philippines-based Leisure and Resorts World Corp (LRWC), Eusebio Tanco, says the company is abandoning plans for a US$500-million casino investment for the holiday island of Boracay. The scheme was to be developed in partnership with Macau-based casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd.
“We are not looking at casino. But I’m keeping that piece of land,” Mr Tanco reportedly said last week, as quoted by Philippine media outlet BusinessWorld.
He reportedly added: “I’ll just hold on to that piece of land, but I’m not going to do a casino there. I’ll just land-bank it.”
According to the Manila Standard, Mr Tanco stated that talks with Galaxy Entertainment on the project were not proceeding.
Hong Kong-listed Galaxy Entertainment announced in December 2017 a US$500-million investment for the holiday island of Boracay (pictured in a file photo), in partnership with LRWC. The latter company has interests in the land-based and online gambling sectors in the Philippines.
Galaxy Entertainment said in March last year that the country’s casino regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), had given it a provisional gaming licence. On the following month, the Philippine government however said it had shelved the Boracay casino scheme, following stated opposition from the country’s leader, President Rodrigo Duterte.
In an interview with GGRAsia last week, Pagcor’s president and chief operating officer (COO), Alfredo C. Lim, had suggested it might still be possible for Galaxy Entertainment and LRWC to move ahead with its proposed casino resort project in Boracay. “If they [Galaxy Entertainment] can come up with certain measures that will convince the President, maybe there will be reconsiderations of the regional suspension of the [casino] licence [in Boracay],” Mr Lim told GGRAsia.
The Philippine authorities closed Boracay to tourists for six months in 2018 on Mr Duterte’s orders, apparently to clean up the island. Issues reportedly addressed included heavy pollution by sewage.
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Amount that each Macau casino operator paid for the circa six-month extension of their respective contract