Galaxy Entertainment Looks to Invest $500 Million in Philippines Casino Resort

Posted on: December 8, 2017, 05:00h. 

Last updated on: December 8, 2017, 03:15h.

Galaxy Entertainment is ready to take its show on the road and develop its first integrated casino resort outside of Macau.

Galaxy Entertainment Philippines casino
Gaming tycoon Lui Che Woo has his eyes sit on his next casino development, which if approved, would mark Galaxy Entertainment’s first investment outside of China. (Image: David Wong/South China Morning Post)

The Hong Kong-based gaming and hospitality conglomerate founded and owned by billionaire Lui Che Woo is reportedly seeking regulatory approval for a $300 million to $500 million project from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). The federal agency said as much this week, as PAGCOR President Alfredo Lim told Reuters that Galaxy is targeting Boracay Island.

Galaxy is partnering with the Philippines’ own Leisure & Resorts World Corporation. LRWC is a multi-brand corporation that’s invested in various businesses including casinos, e-gaming, and junket operations.

Located about 200 miles south of Manila in the central Philippines, Boracay Island is a prime tourism destination that’s known for its clear waters and white sandy beaches. Travel + Leisure magazine named Boracay the best island in the world in 2012.

Should PAGCOR approve the resort, it would mark the Philippines’ first integrated casino to be built not in Manila or Entertainment City. It appears PAGCOR supports the endeavor.

“The project is intended for foreigners, junket operators and high-rollers. It will further improve our tourism sector,” Lim explained. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has tasked PAGCOR with the responsibility of making the country the “top gaming and entertainment destination” in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The Boracay casino proposal would presumably fall into that directive, which is why it’s expected that PAGCOR will approve the Galaxy Entertainment plan. Among the other nine ASEAN member nations is Singapore, which saw its two integrated casino resorts, Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World, generate about $4 billion during its most recent fiscal year.

Galaxy Entertainment currently owns three casino resorts in Macau, plus three smaller card club casinos in China’s special gaming enclave.

China and Philippines

The Philippines already has one Chinese gaming conglomerate doing business in the country. The $1.3 billion City of Dreams Manila resort is owned by Melco Resorts, which was previously a joint venture between Melco and Australia’s Crown Resorts.

Galaxy Entertainment says the improved relationship between China and the Philippines makes it an opportune time to develop in the island nation. “The Philippines has great potential and offers attractive opportunities,” Galaxy Deputy Chairman Francis Lui said this week.

Duterte has been less adamant about being a strong ally to the United States, and instead has looked to reduce the hostility between his country and China.

PAGCOR Shakeup

Part of the mission to make the Philippines a leading gaming tourism destination involves PAGCOR transitioning into a regulator-only capacity.

The agency currently owns and operates 13 Casino Filipino locations and 35 satellite gaming facilities. Those assets will soon be sold to private companies.

Once PAGCOR is free of possessing actual gambling venues, the organization is likely going to be renamed the Philippine Amusements and Gaming Authority.

PAGCOR is seemingly well on its way in accomplishing Duterte’s directive. In its half-year fiscal report filed last month, PAGCOR reported gross gaming revenue of PHP 39.15 billion ($760 million), which represents a 14.5 percent year-over-year increase.