Philippine Tycoon Manuel Villar Jr. announces $1B casino project in Las Piñas City
Filipino business tycoon Manuel Villar Jr. is poised to establish himself as a prominent figure in the gaming industry with the opening of a new $1 billion casino and hotel venture in Las Piñas City, the Philippines, through a collaboration with a Korean consortium. While he chose not to reveal the identity of the Korean casino partner; he confirmed that extensive negotiations had taken place and an agreement has been solidified.
“We plan to start operations this year or the latest is up to the first quarter of next year,” Villar said as reported by the Inquirer.Net.
The decision to engage a Korean partner stems from the considerable size of their tourism market. According to the Department of Tourism, Koreans constituted the largest group of foreign visitors to the Philippines as of April this year.
Villar's strategy involves repurposing the Vista Mall Global South shopping mall in Las Piñas to create a casino, marking the initial phase of two planned gaming projects in the region. “This will be a satellite. It's not the main body,” he said.
Meanwhile, his next casino, potentially to be located near its Evia lifestyle hub in Las Piñas, will be a much bigger venture. These projects are located within the tycoon's Villar City, a budding 3,500-hectare development that straddles 15 cities and municipalities in the southern part of Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
Villar also plans to build a world-class indoor arena, theme park, and golf course in Villar City apart from housing, commercial centers, hotels, and office buildings. The entire development could take decades to complete.
The tycoon, who founded Vista Land & Lifescapes Inc., said he remained bullish on the property sector despite the impact caused by the entry and gradual exodus of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators. “It's still too early for the Philippines in terms of our state of development,” he said.
The Philippines' gambling industry is setting its sights on an ambitious target – doubling its gross gaming revenue by 2028.
PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Alejandro Tengco.
Earlier this month, the Philippine's Gaming Regulator Chief, Alejandro Tengco, noted that at least six new casino projects, collectively valued at around $3 billion, are in the pipeline. These initiatives are strategically positioned to elevate the Southeast Asian nation's thriving gaming sector, especially in anticipation of competition from countries like Japan and Thailand.
Anticipating substantial annual growth, Tengco projected that the country's gaming industry could achieve a new record high in gross gaming revenue (GGR) this year. He estimated that GGR could reach an impressive range of $7.9 to $8.8 billion (450 billion to 500 billion pesos) within the next five years.
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