Galaxy Entertainment Moves Ahead with Boracay Island Casino
Galaxy Entertainment Group (GEG) appears to be moving ahead with its plans for an integrated casino-resort on the Philippine island of Boracay. Back in December 2017, Galaxy executives met with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to get approval.
That was in December, though. Earlier this month, Duterte claimed he’d never heard of such a thing and said he was shutting down the island for 6 months for a cleanup. Now, it appears GEG might have a chance to build a casino in Boracay after all.
Galaxy Entertainment Group (GEG) is not taking “No” for an answer. The Macau-based casino operator has been persistent with its plan for an integrated resort project in the Philippine holiday island of Boracay, despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s opposition.
The Chinese casino operator doubled-down on its plans to build a casino on Boracay Island. GEG’s local partner, Leisure & Resorts World Corp., bought more properties on the island.
Boracay Philippines Resort & Leisure Corporation
The two operators GEG and LRWC had worked through its subsidiary, Boracay Philippines Resort and Leisure Corporation (BPRLC), to initially purchase a 23-hectare property for the integrated resort project estimated to cost $500 million.
Francis Liu, Deputy chairman of Galaxy Entertainment, said this week, “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.”
Rowen Aguirre, Boracay Affairs Municipal Executive Assistant, mentioned that LRWC has continued their negotiations with multiple properties. The plan is to set up shop on underdeveloped and residential land in Boracay.
Galaxy Entertainment and Leisure and Resorts submitted an application to the state regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), in order to secure a provisional casino license in Boracay. Among the documents sent to the regulator was the letter of no objection from government officials.
PACGOR official Alfredo Lim said the Boracay Island casino would help the Philippines, stating, “It will further improve our tourism sector. The project is intended for foreigners, junket operators and high-rollers.”
GEG’s Boracay Island Casino Project
GEG announced plans to build in Boracay last year. Then a Philippine tourism official claimed that the Macau-based operator started to look for different areas of land to build their multi-million-dollar land-based casino on. Though those rumors have been shut down by LRWC, which said that it has yet to give up on the Holiday Island project.
Duturte Lies about Boracay Island
On April 9, President Rodrigo Duterte claimed that he knew nothing about the plans of a casino project in Boracay by Galaxy Entertainment Group. Photos that were published months ago by the Malacanang Palace which proved those claims wrong.
Duterte’s own official residence shows pictures of him sitting down with the chairman of GEG, Lui Che-woo. When the president was asked by reporters about the Galaxy Entertainment Group’s casino project, President Duterte responded saying, “What? What casino? Who owns the casino? There are no plans there for casinos. There are too many.”
Andrea Domingo and Antonio Trillanes IV
According to Andrea Domingo, PAGCOR chair member, there was no formal communication between the two regarding the matter. She denied the reports that Galaxy Entertainment was pulling out from their plans to build in Boracay.
Philippine Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, an outspoken opponent of President Duterte, said that meeting between the two made it easy to assume that an agreement in some form had been made.Trillanes spoke out about the president’s denial, saying it was a “blatant lie”.
The national senator said, “That is a blatant lie. That is why I showed this, because it is clear this is a courtesy call. When there is a courtesy call by a big businessman, that means it’s a done deal.”
Though the claims by the president have been clearly proved incorrect, Duterte’s response regarding the Boracay Island’s casino project might deter some investors from investing in the Philippines. Business people want stability and information to make decisions, which is impossible when a national official lies so blatantly.
Already, China’s newspapers have published articles discouraging Chinese tourists from visiting the Philippines, or at least pointing out the downside to doing so.
With current discussions by Japanese, American, and Chinese gaming operators about multi-billion dollar casino investments, Rodrigo Duterte could miss out ultimately costing his nation billions of dollars in potential foreign investment capital.
About Galaxy Entertainment Group
Galaxy Entertainment Group (GEG) is one of three major Chinese casino companies in Macau. Publicly listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, now GEG wants to expand into the Philippines’ Boracay Island.
The matter is somewhat mysterious, but Philippine officials are notorious for bribery and corruption, though President Duterte came to office claiming he would end corruption.
The mystery behind his reversal on Boracay Island is going to convince his opponents Duterte has corruption intentions, while it will convince his followers that he is working against corrupt officials and the foreigners who would bribe them.