By: Caroline Watson – July 30, 2018| Gambling Insider é

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has issued Hong Kong’s Landing International Development a licence to build a $1.5bn integrated resort (IR) in the capital dubbed “Nayon Landing,”  despite the President’s nationwide ban on the issuance of IR licences.

“The momentous and symbolic occasion will mark the first step in the development of the integrated resort,” said Landing International Chairman and Executive Director, Yang Zhihui. “The ceremony will celebrate a key milestone in the company’s history as it continues to strive toward becoming one of the global leaders in the tourism, leisure and entertainment industry.”

Yang said the investment in the Philippines “is an ideal opportunity” for the company to expand its footprint into Southeast Asia as it strives to become a leading IR operator in the region.

The new addition will be the fifth casino resort project in the Philippines’ downsized version of the Las Vegas Strip, Entertainment City.

Landing said it plans to open its IR as early as 2022, and it hopes to break ground in August this year.

In January, the Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, introduced the nationwide ban on IR licences to prevent an oversupply.

Following Landing International’s announcement, Andrea Domingo, Head of PAGCOR, told local media the Hong Kong-listed company was advised to “secure a clearance” from the country’s President.

She added: “They have presented their project to the board last year and have formalised their application in March 2018. We informed them to secure clearance from the Office of the President, which they say they will comply.”

Nonetheless, the Philippines is about to see yet another influx of casinos via its Freeport zone authority, the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA).

Secretary Raul L. Lambino , Administrator and Chief Executive of CEZA, confirmed last week that four “big” integrated resort and casino operators from Hong Kong, Malaysia, Japan and South Korea have submitted letters of intent to establish integrated resorts in the northern region of the Philippines.

While the Philippines is sending out somewhat of a mixed message when it comes to the accesabilty of its casino indsutry, it is needless to say the influx of recent further highlights the growth prospects in one of Asia’s fastest-growing gambling markets.

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