Philippine gambling company Leisure and Resorts World Corp. (LRWC) today announced that it has purchased a 23-hectare site on the Boracay Island to build an integrated resort in partnership with Macau-based casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd.
As revealed in a Monday disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, the site is located in the Barangay Manoc-Manoc area on the south end of the island. Boracay has become particularly popular with tourists over the past several years due to its white sand beaches and bright nightlife scene.
LRWC said in the disclosure that it expects that its partner, Galaxy Entertainment, would be granted a casino gaming license from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) by the end of the month. Once the two companies obtain the necessary regulatory approval, they will be able to move forward with the construction of an integrated resort with a casino floor, the first on the island.
PAGCOR has recently placed a moratorium on the opening of gambling venues in the Philippines, as President Rodrigo Duterte has again focused his attention on the nation’s gambling industry and has voiced concerns about the proliferation of gambling activities. However, it has become known that casino license applications submitted before January 11, 2018 would still be reviewed.
News about the Boracay casino resort project first emerged late last year, when it became known that Galaxy Entertainment was seeking to extend its footprint in the Asia-Pacific region and was eying the Philippines and its casino industry to carry out its plan.
Casino News Daily reported late last week that Galaxy Entertainment and its local partner, LRWC, have decided to move forward with the development project, despite President Duterte’s growing discontent with overdevelopment and other environmental issues on the island.
Galaxy Entertainment and LRWC are planning to build a $500-million integrated resort on the island that would include accommodation, food and beverage, meeting and convention, and gaming facilities and would aim to attract high roller casino patrons from the Asia-Pacific region.
President Duterte to Shutter Boracay
The Philippine’s top official, responding to environmentalists’ concerns, has thrown heavy criticism at the way certain issues on Boracay, including the threat of overdevelopment and the lack of a proper sewerage system, have been handled.
President Duterte has also announced plans to shutter the island until the above-mentioned issues are resolved. Last week, the official even threatened that he would send the Marines to the island and would authorize them to blow up with dynamite any illegal structures.
Boracay came under focus after the closure of the Boracay West Cove resort earlier this month. The property was shuttered by the local government after it was found that it had been built without the necessary permits and in a non-built area on the island.
Plans for the island’s closure were confirmed earlier today by President Duterte’s spokesperson Harry Roque. Mr. Roque said in a statement that the island would be shut down temporarily and that permanent closure was unacceptable as it would have detrimental economic consequences.
A specially assembled task force has recommended that the island be closed for a year, during which its environment would be rehabilitated.
Around 2 million foreign and local tourists visited Boracay last year.