Galaxy keen to build in Philippines despite Duterte’s anti-casino campaign

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Galaxy Entertainment have maintained interest in developing a Philippines casino, despite a $500m Boracay island venture being dismissed by president Rodrigo Duterte.

The proposal, announced in December, fell foul of the president’s desire to allocate Boracay exclusively to Filipino farmers following a six-month environmental rehabilitation, however, Galaxy has expressed a desire to remain in the country.

“Galaxy has said they are now looking for another site,” said Frederick Alegre, assistant secretary of the Department of Tourism. “That is very much welcome.”

The casino had already received a provisional licence from Pagcor, as the Boracay location met the regulator’s specifications of “an area within rural provinces, cities or municipalities with high potential for tourism development with no existing casino.”

However, Pagcor added in April that “the provisional licence is only the start of a very long and tedious process of compliance that every integrated-resort operator must go through.”

Following an announcement earlier this month by presidential spokesman Harry Roque that “there will be no new casino in Boracay,” Galaxy withdrew its Boracay investment, but will now reportedly attempt to gain licence approval in a different Philippines location.

“They just have to go through the process of accreditation and securing again a new Pagcor provisional authority,” said Alegre.

Finding a viable new location for a casino in the country, however, may prove difficult, after Duterte forbade the construction of new casinos in Manila for a five year period starting in March of last year.

The president then ordered a halt of licence approvals for casinos nationwide in January, over concerns of “proliferation.”


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