The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), the country’s gaming regulator, is considering penalising Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc if it fails to open the US$2-billion Manila Bay Resorts (pictured in a rendering) early next year.
Tiger Resort is the local affiliate of Universal Entertainment Corp, led by Japanese entrepreneur Kazuo Okada.
Local media quoted Pagcor’s chairman Cristino Naguiat Jr. as saying that March 2015 was the deadline originally agreed between the casino operator and the government.
The company last month gave a different deadline. Tiger Resort said the launch of the first phase of the casino resort along Manila Bay was on target for late 2015.
“Our lawyers are looking into it. I’m sure there will be a penalty,” Mr Naguiat told reporters on Tuesday, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
The penalty could include Tiger Resort losing a PHP100 million (US$2.2 million) guarantee. It is a sum that each of the private sector casino developers in Entertainment City, a Las Vegas-style cluster of multibillion U.S. dollar casino venues being built in the Manila Bay area of the capital, are required to lodge with the regulator either in the form of a bank guarantee, letter of credit or surety bond.
Tiger Resort officials were not immediately available to comment.
Manila Bay Resorts will be the third integrated resort to be opened at Entertainment City, under the four licences that have been granted by Pagcor.
The latest development comes amid a dispute between a group of companies controlled by Mr Okada and Philippine developer Century Properties Group Inc.
In July, a Philippine court barred Mr Okada and his companies from terminating the partnership with Century Properties to develop jointly the casino and real estate project.
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.
Mr Naguiat had previously said that the Manila Bay Resorts would only be authorised to open once it had a local partner.
Century Properties said last month it would be willing to resume talks about a tie-up if the terms of the original agreement would be retained.
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