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Macau’s Galaxy Casino to enter Philippines Date: August 23, 2017
MANILA, Philippines - Macau-based Galaxy Casino is betting big on the Philippines, taking advantage of the country’s booming gaming sector, industry sources told The Star.

The gaming firm, a subsidiary of Galaxy Entertainment Group, has chosen Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo “Albee” Benitez as its local partner, the sources said.

Benitez, founder of Leisure and Resorts World Corp. (LRWC), has been in the gaming business for decades and knows the industry like the back of his hand. He has been busy forging partnerships to bring investments to the Philippines.

The joint venture is reportedly pouring in $300 to $500 million to build an integrated casino resort in the Philippines, the site of which is still being determined.

“Several high tourist traffic areas are being considered but negotiations with local authorities are still ongoing,” sources said.

Galaxy’s expansion in the Philippines comes on the heels of China’s strict no-smoking policy in casinos and an ongoing crackdown against corruption in gaming territories like Macau.

The Philippines has benefitted from the crackdown with a growing number of Chinese players choosing Manila as an alternative gaming destination.

Friendlier ties between Manila and Beijing following President Duterte’s pivot to China has also resulted in more players from the mainland coming to the Philippines.

In Macau, Galaxy first opened in 2011 at the Cotai Strip, a 550,000 square meter resort with Las Vegas-style facilities such as the world’s largest sky wave pool, a white sandy beach and dozens of private villas and cabanas.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. expects gross gaming revenues (GGR) in the Philippines to expand to P160 billion this year.

In the first nine months of 2016, GGR amounted to P118 billion, according to Pagcor.

Aside from Galaxy, local and foreign businesses are interested to enter the Philippine gaming sector.

Businessman Dennis Uy, founder of Davao-based Phoenix Petroleum and a known Duterte ally recently broke ground for a $300 million integrated casino resort in Cebu, the first of its kind outside Metro Manila.

Ports tycoon Enrique Razon is also expanding his Solaire Resort and Casino in Paranaque. He is also looking at building a second casino in Quezon City with an estimated investment of about $380 million.

Razon said Chinese tourists have been flocking to the Philippines since President Duterte’s trip to Beijing last year, which yielded $24 billion in investment pledges.

By Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 23, 2017 - 12:00am


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