Hong Kong-based Galaxy Entertainment Group is planning to spend up to $500 million building a casino resort in Boracay.
Along with local partner Leisure & Resorts World Corp, Galaxy is now seeking approval for the project from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor).
Senior representatives of the two companies have already discussed their plan with President Duterte during a telephone call on Wednesday.
Pagcor president Alfredo Lim said: “It will further improve our tourism sector. The project is intended for foreigners, junket operators and high-rollers.” He added that the casino resort in Boracay could start welcoming guests within three years of the plan’s approval.
In an e-mail to Reuters, Francis Lui, deputy chairman of Galaxy, formerly known as K Wah Construction Materials, wrote: “As you know, China’s relationship with the Philippines has been improving. K Wah Group and Galaxy would like to play a role in the One Belt One Road initiative and we strongly believe the Philippines has great potential and offers attractive opportunities.”
The Philippines’ gross gaming revenue from casinos and electronic gaming sites rose by 12 per cent to 88 billion pesos ($1.7 billion) in the first half of this year.
This growth has been attributed to increasing numbers of “high rollers” from China and South Korea.
The Philippines has significantly expanded its casino industry in recent years. Three integrated resorts with casino floors have opened in the Manila, and a fourth will be launched in the coming years.
Regulators believe that the country’s gambling venues could generate annual revenue of up to 160 billion pesos this year.
Galaxy, which is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange but primarily operates in Macau, has expressed an interest in expanding its footprint internationally for some time. According to Casino World News, it could have chosen the Philippines due to the country’s growing casino industry and President Duterte’s warming ties with China.