Galaxy Entertainment Plans a Casino in The Philippines
Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd, the biggest Chinese casino company in Macau, has announced its plans to build a casino on Boracay Island in the Philippines. Galaxy Entertainment plans to invest as much as $500 million in an integrated casino-resort located in the Philippines – most likely Manila.
This is not Galaxy Entertainment’s first attempt at a Philippine Expansion. Back in 2012, Galaxy worked on a Philippine-based casino development project. GEG planned to open a new casino in Manila’s Entertainment City gaming zone, though the project fell through as the global economy was dealing with the after-effects of the global recession.
The majority of Galaxy Entertainment Group casinos are located within Macau, though they have a small stake in Monaco’s state-owned gaming company. Besides its own casinos – like StarWorld Macau, CityClub, Broadway Casino, and Galaxy Macau – the company also has many boutique casinos which are sub-license holders.
In fact, Sands China, owner of the Venetian Macau and Parisian Macau, hold a sub-license with Galaxy Entertainment.
Diversifying Galaxy’s Casino Portfolio
In short, Galaxy Entertainment is an institution in Macau. After Beijing’s VIP crackdown, Galaxy even seemed to make it out better than most. As Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts, and Wynn Resorts stocks plunged, Galaxy’s ties to smaller casinos which did not have as much VIP traffic gave it added stability.
No one was really spared, though. Galaxy’s biggest casinos noticed a major decline in Chinese VIP gamblers, as junket operators found it harder to bankroll high stakes gamblers.
With that in mind, Galaxy would like to diversify its gambling business to the Philippines. Along with the prying eye of Beijing, travel restrictions from the mainland to Macau have forced gamblers to look for other Asia-Pacific jurisdictions, such as the Philippines and South Korea. Players in Beijing and northeast China prefer to go to South Korea’s Jeju Island or Tigre de Cristal in Russia. Those in Hong Kong, Shanghai, or southeast China prefer the Philippines.
Boracay Island Casino Resort
China’s casino operators have been searching all across Asia to find the perfect place to build new gaming resorts. The Philippines’ loose regulation of gaming, warm weather patterns, and young population has made Manila an attractive destination.
Galaxy Entertainment Group’s Deputy Chairman Francis Lui met with controversial Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, to discuss expanding the billionaire’s casino group. Leisure & Resorts World Corp., the group’s Philippine Partner, and Galaxy Entertainment plan to open a $300 million to $500 million casino-resort on the island of Boracay. The companies are currently applying for a license.
Therefore, Galaxy and local partner, Leisure and Resorts World Corp, are aiming for regulatory approval for a casino project on the central Philippine island of Boracay. The Boracay Island, with their white sand beaches and exciting nightlife, are a perfect location for most VIP gamblers and their tourist families.
Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) President Alfredo Lim mentioned, “It will further improve our tourism sector. The project is intended for foreigners, junket operators and high-rollers.”
The casino could open their doors as early as three years after the plan’s approval, Lim said. At the beginning of this month, the officials of Galaxy Entertainment Group and Leisure and Resorts World discussed plans with Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte.
Philippine Casino Industry
Francis Lui, deputy chairman of Galaxy Entertainment, mentioned in an e-mail, “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.”
According to data from PACGOR, high-rollers from China and South Korea have helped to grow the Philippines’ gross gaming revenue, both from land-based casino and electronic gaming halls. Philippine revenue has grown 12 percent to 88 billion pesos ($1.7 billion) from just the first half of the year versus a year ago.
The Philippines consists of one of Asia’s most carefree gaming industries. The jurisdiction estimates a gross gaming revenue of anywhere from 155 billion pesos to 160 billion pesos just this year. The growth relies heavily on Chinese traffic. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has tried to warm relations with China in his year and a half in office, though an ongoing dispute over the South China Seas continues to complicate relations.