The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), the country’s gaming regulator, has approved a provisional licence for local firm Udenna Corp to build a casino resort at Lapu-Lapu City, on the island of Mactan in Cebu province. The company on Thursday said it would invest US$300 million in the scheme, according to media reports.
Privately-held Udenna – owned by Philippine businessman Dennis Uy – is a holding company based in Davao City, engaged in trading and shipping. Mr Uy is said to have been one of the top contributors to the election campaign of the country’s current head of state, President Rodrigo Duterte.
Udenna said in a statement it planned to start construction of the casino resort – dubbed Lapu-Lapu Leisure Mactan – in three months. The project would be built on a 12-hectare (29.6-acre) beachfront property, six kilometres (3.7 miles) from Cebu’s international airport (pictured).
The casino, retail complex and hotels are scheduled to open as early as 2019, with the remaining facilities completed by 2022, the firm said.
“We see this integrated development taking a major role in bringing the Philippines on par with the region’s premier destinations for leisure, gaming and meetings, as well as for commercial and residential investments,” said in a statement Mr Uy, Udenna’s president and chief executive, as quoted by Reuters news agency.
The head of Pagcor, Andrea Domingo, had said in March that the country would have a five-year moratorium on issuing further casino licences for the capital Manila, amid industry concerns of oversupply.
Despite the moratorium on more Manila licences, Pagcor was said to be welcoming applications for other parts of the country with more modest capital expenditure.
"We remain fully committed to continue supporting IGT’s long-term development"
Chief executive of De Agostini, majority shareholder of lottery and gaming supplier IGT