Widus Philippines Inc, owner and operator of the Widus Hotel and Casino at Clark Freeport Zone in the Philippines, says its casino has been formally granted its “regular” gaming licence. The company says it was the first property in Clark to have received a full gaming licence from the country’s casino regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp, also known as Pagcor.
“Widus Casino was granted its regular gaming licence recently – a first in Clark,” said Neki Liwanag, Widus Philippines’ assistant vice president for corporate planning and compliance, in an emailed statement to GGRAsia on Wednesday. “It was approved in Pagcor’s July 8 board meeting,” she added.
“Being able to get the regular gaming licence a few months ahead of the required timeline and [supported by] more than the required investment shows Widus’ commitment to the industry and its belief on the success of the gaming industry in Clark, and in the Philippines,” said Ms Liwanag.
She added: “This is also the reason why Widus is already expanding with the construction of its fourth hotel tower, [the] expansion of the existing casino, and other related facilities.”
Widus Philippines said the full licence was issued after the company surpassed a minimum investment threshold under its agreement with Pagcor. Ms Liwanag said the company was required to invest PHP4.5 billion (US$86.6 million) within four years from the signing of its provisional licence in December 2014.
“Based on our report submitted to Pagcor for the release of the regular gaming licence, and as verified by our external auditors, we have invested a total of PHP10.176 billion as of October 31, 2018,” said the Widus Philippines executive.
The first hotel tower of the Widus Hotel and Casino complex opened in 2008, followed by the casino in December 2009. A second tower was opened in 2012, followed by the Clark Marriot hotel in September last year.
Widus Philippines said in May that it had secured a PHP7-billion syndicated loan to finance the expansion of the property. According to the company, the fourth hotel tower consists of 380 rooms in a 19-storey structure, featuring also additional restaurants and shops.
Tower four will also feature a new casino, according to the company’s previous information. The new gaming area will have approximately 200 gaming tables and 1,000 slot machines and electronic table games.
In her Wednesday remarks, Ms Liwanag said the company was targeting to open the new casino “by the last quarter of 2020”. The other facilities in the fourth tower will be in operation “by the second quarter of 2021,” she added.
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