PAGCOR tempers Boracay enthusiasm with latest comments

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The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, which regulates gaming in the Philippines, has warned the potential operator of an integrated resort on the island of Boracay that the scheme remains subject to a “tedious compliance process” and that a provisional licence is no guarantee of success, reports local news source GMA.

The PAGCOR statement comes as a blow to the Macau-based operator Galaxy Entertainment and partner Leisure and Resorts World, the latter having already secured a 23-hectare site for the proposed $500m development.

The news follows comments earlier this week from Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte in which he denied any knowledge of the scheme, asserting that the lands would return to agricultural and forestry use after the six-month environmental clean-up of Boracay that begins later this month.

In March, PAGCOR had issued a provisional operator’s licence to the Galaxy/LRW venture, the Boracay Philippines Resort and Leisure Corporation.

In today’s statement, the regulator cautioned: “The provisional licence is only the start of a very long and tedious process of compliance that every integrated-resort operator must go through before they can be issued by PAGCOR a Notice to Commence Casino Operations and eventually, a regular casino gaming licence.

“In the case of BPRLC, they have yet to submit a proof of ownership or lease of the land wherein the casino-resort will be built, a detailed Project Implementation and Development Plan, an escrow account, performance assurance, surety bond, financial statement, documentary requirements, among others.”

The PAGCOR statement aligns the regulator more closely with Duterte’s reported stance but still runs contrary to the national moratorium on new casinos the president imposed, effective from January, 2018.

Whether BPRLC will succeed in developing an integrated resort on Boracay remains a matter for debate and the PAGCOR comments do little to clarify the situation.

At the time of writing, Galaxy Entertainment had not responded to a request for comment from CasinoBeats.