In the Philippines, the State-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCor) has announced that it is proceeding with plans to build the $15 billion Entertainment City near Manila.
The site is situated on a 150 hectares of reclaimed land in Manila Bay and could feature up to eight hotels alongside theme parks, shopping malls and other recreational establishments including casinos when complated. It is being touted as the nation’s answer to Macau and Las Vegas but faced several hurdles including fears over a potential rise in levels of prostitution.
'We expect to begin construction of the project by first quarter of next year,” said Rafael ‘Butch’ Francisco, President and Chief Operating Officer for PAGCor, which owns the nation’s 13 casinos.
“The project will then take about five years to complete. We've been trying to assure the Church for the past two years that there is not going to be casinos in every corner of this development.”
The last hurdle was cleared last week when the local government of Paranaque granted the project ecozone status, the final pre-construction requirement providing tax incentives for investors including delays in paying property tax.
Francisco revealed that three companies had already expressed interest in investing in the project, Japan's Aruze Corporation, Alliance Global and the SM Group of Companies, while America’s Steve Wynn and Australia's James Packer have reportedly passed for now.
'This project will result in about 400,000 jobs including the multiplier effect it will have on contractors, cement producers and other establishments to be built around Entertainment City,' said Francisco.
The local government stated that it expects to earn around $10.6 million annually from the project by receiving 25 percent of the take from gambling and five percent on non-gaming revenues, both of which are below the Philippine corporate tax rate of 35 percent.