Leisure and Resorts World Corp (LRWC) says it has “no plans” for development of a land plot on the Philippine holiday island of Boracay (pictured in a file photo). The 23-hectare (57-acre) parcel was previously earmarked for a US$500-million casino investment.
The clarification was included in a filing on Tuesday to the Philippine Stock Exchange. It followed media reports quoting the firm’s acting chairman, Eusebio Tanco, as saying the company was abandoning plans to develop a casino resort on Boracay. The scheme was to be developed in partnership with Macau-based casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd.
LRWC stated in the filing that the comments by Mr Tanco were “only referring to the fact that due to the moratorium imposed by President Rodrigo Duterte, there is no further discussions on the Boracay project with Galaxy Entertainment.”
The moratorium was a reference to a pause imposed by the country’s leader, President Duterte, on new casino projects in the Philippines. According to previous official announcements, the moratorium dated from January 2018, although a number of new projects was subsequently mentioned by the country’s casino regulator. That was said to be on the basis the promoters of those schemes had permission in principle from the regulator prior to that date.
LRWC’s Tuesday filing added: “We remain committed to abide by the instructions of our President [Duterte] and will defer to his mandate on the matter.”
Hong Kong-listed Galaxy Entertainment announced in December 2017 the Boracay project, 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 President Duterte.
GGRAsia has approached Galaxy Entertainment seeking comment on the latest situation regarding its partnership with LRWC for a Boracay integrated resort.
In its Tuesday filing, LRWC stated that “no plans have been made for the development of the land in Boracay” in any alternative format.
“But since LRWC is confident that the price of the properties in Boracay will continue to appreciate with the recent positive actions taken by President Rodrigo Duterte to revitalise and clean up Boracay, our chairman believes land banking the properties will still create value for LRWC,” the firm added.
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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