Casinos in Boracay Could Come Sooner than Expected

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Just days after a moratorium on new casino construction in the Philippines was lifted, two projects are possibly in the works. One is a resort that was forced to stall due to COVID-19 and the moratorium, while the other is a new property. Expected launch dates haven’t been revealed; however, with the idea that they will help the country with its economic recovery, both could be at least partially ready within a year.

New Casinos Coming to Boracay

Alliance Global Group (AGG), which is owned by billionaire Andrew Tan, has announced that it will be working on a second new casino in Boracay. The venue is expected to be tied to a number of leisure and resort properties being built there by Megaworld Corporation, which is also owned by Tan. The announcement follows a decision by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to soften his anti-gambling stance. That led to the government lifting a moratorium on new casino construction, particularly in Boracay.

According to local media outlet ABS-CBN News, Tan explained, “We will proceed with our casino project in Boracay Newcoast. We already have several hotels there and we are still building more.” He added that he is still “hopeful that the tourism industry in this island will recover fast after the pandemic.” The pandemic has been the impetus for Duterte’s change in position on casino gambling.

AGG holds a 50% stake in Travellers International Hotel Group, which operates Resorts World Manila. Travellers is also behind the Westside Resorts World Project in Entertainment City near Manila. Megaworld is a backer of Suntrust Home Developers, led by Suncity Group, which is also building a $1-billion resort in Entertainment City.

Stalled Boracay Casino Alive Again

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and amid the crackdown in Boracay by Duterte, Leisure and Resorts World Corp (LWRC) and Galaxy Entertainment Group had begun working on a massive casino resort in Boracay. However, that came to an abrupt halt due to the government’s anti-gambling position. The two companies are ready to get back to business and LWRC has confirmed that the two entities could reignite discussions over the details of the resort.

Whether any conversations have begun hasn’t been revealed. LRWC director Alfredo Abelardo Benitez, per a report from media outlet GMA News Online, has only acknowledged that he is confident that LRWC and Galaxy will be able to pick up where they left off. However, it’s likely that some changes will need to be made to the $550-million resort before construction is restarted.

While neither project will be ready quickly, one or both could open in phases in order to start drumming up business. This tactic is seen often among larger casino resorts and has worked well in other areas. With Boracay eager to capitalize on its environmentally-friendly nature to attract tourists, it will likely lend a hand to help facilitate the standard red tape associated with large construction projects.

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