Corporate News

By Krista Angela M. Montealegre , Senior Reporter

PAGCOR extends timetable for casino project of Japanís Universal

Posted on September 17, 2015

GAMING regulator Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) formally gave an affiliate of Japanís Universal Entertainment Corp. more time to build a $2-billion integrated casino-resort complex in Entertainment City.

PAGCOR Vice-President for Gaming Licensing and Development Francis P. Hernando said, in a mobile phone message yesterday, the gaming regulatorís board of directors approved the change in the timetable for the Manila Bay Resorts, pushing back the deadline to finish the project to Dec. 31, 2016 from March 31 this year.

ďThe approval of a new timetable also means that the license is not suspended,Ē Mr. Hernando said.

PAGCOR gave the Philippine affiliate Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment, Inc. on June 25 a conditional approval to buy more time to finish the construction of the Manila Bay Resorts.

At a House committee hearing on Monday, Mr. Hernando said Tiger Resort has complied with the requirements set forth in the conditional approval.

The requirements are the reinstatement of a P100-million bond, payment of over P30 million in penalties, improvement in the companyís corporate governance policies and proof that the company has the financial resources to bankroll the development of the integrated resort, he said.

Manila Bay Resorts will have two hotel towers with 500 rooms each and a 30,000-square meter (sqm) casino housing 500 table games and 3,000 slot machines upon opening, Tiger Resort Executive Vice-President Matt Hurst said in July.

The integrated resort will also have 25 food and beverage outlets, 7,500 sqm of retail space, a night club, a beach club, a spa and an iconic dancing fountain.

The Okada group teamed up with All Seasons Hotel and Resort Corp. of businessman Antonio O. Cojuangco -- a relative of President Benigno S. C. Aquino III -- to end the licenseeís search for a local partner to partly resolve issues on foreign ownership of land.

All Seasons Hotels acquired a 40% stake in Eagle Land II Holdings, Inc., an affiliate of Universal Entertainment, which indirectly translates to ďabout 24%Ē of Eagle Land I Holdings, Inc., Mr. Cojuangco said.

Eagle Land I owns the 40-hectare property on which the Manila Bay Resorts would rise.

The casino project had been hounded by allegations its proponents bribed PAGCOR officials to get a license and violated the Anti-Dummy Law.

Manila Bay Resorts will be the third licensee of PAGCOR to open its integrated resort in Entertainment City after Solaire Resort and Casino of ports magnate Enrique K. Razon, Jr. and City of Dreams Manila, a joint venture between retail magnate Henry Sy and Macau-based Melco Crown Entertainment. Westside City Resorts World of Alliance Global Group, Inc. and the Genting group will open by 2018.