The chairman of state-run casino operator-cum-regulator the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), Cristino Naguiat Jr. (pictured), has reiterated that the US$2 billion Manila Bay Resorts will only be authorised to open once it gets a local partner. The property is a development of Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc, led by Japanese entrepreneur Kazuo Okada.
Mr Okada plans to open the casino resort within the Pagcor-supported Entertainment City in Manila Bay by March 2015.
“Their commitment is for them to set up by March next year. But they could not open without a local partner, definitely,” Mr Naguiat told the Manila Standard Today.
“Even if they finished it, they still cannot open it if they do not have a local partner. Before opening, they should abide by all Philippine laws,” he was quoted as saying.
Under the country’s constitution and public land laws, only Filipinos, or entities owned at least 60 percent by Filipino citizens, are allowed to own land, thus restricting Mr Okada or his majority-owned companies to just 40 percent ownership. Pagcor has temporarily put on hold the licence granted to Mr Okada until he has sorted out the legal questions about his land acquisition.
Mr Okada has previously ended separate agreements with two local property firms, Century Properties Group Inc and Robinsons Land Corp that had been viewed as prospective local partners for the casino resort land and non-gaming real estate development.
Mr Naguiat was quoted saying Mr Okada was in talks with other potential local partners in order to comply with local laws.
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