Launch of new Korean integrated casino project in the Philippines

Lea Hogg 8 months ago
Launch of new Korean integrated casino project in the Philippines

Filipino business magnate Manuel Villar Jr. is set to make significant inroads into the gaming industry through a US $1 billion casino and hotel venture in Las Piñas City, the Philippines. This project is a collaboration with an undisclosed Korean consortium and marks Villar’s expansion into the gaming sector. Negotiations have been successfully concluded, with operations expected to commence either this year or in the first quarter of the following year.

Villar’s strategic choice of a Korean partner is rooted in their sizable tourism market share.

Korean visitors to the Philippines

Statistics from the Philippines’ Department of Tourism (DOT) indicate that Koreans currently constitute the largest group of foreign visitors . Between January and June 2023, the Philippines welcomed 673,841 South Korean visitors, constituting a significant quarter, (25 percent), of the 2,470,798 foreign tourists during the first half of the year.

Comparatively, in 2019, before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, a total of 1,989,322 South Koreans arrivals were recorded in the Philippines. This comprised 24 percent of the 8,188,477 international arrivals in the country for that year, as per DOT statistics.

Las Piñas Casino

The first phase of this ambitious project involves the transformation of the Vista Mall Global South shopping mall in Las Piñas into a casino, which is a precursor to two planned gaming projects in the vicinity. Villar explained that this will function as a satellite casino.

Vilar’s vision 

Within the larger Villar City development, which spans 3,500 hectares and encompasses 15 cities and municipalities in Metro Manila’s southern region and nearby provinces, Villar envisions further gaming ventures. These will include a substantial casino, along with the development of an indoor arena, theme park, golf course, residential areas, commercial centers, hotels and office buildings, although the full realization of these plans could span decades.

Despite the challenges posed by the entry and exit of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators, Villar remains optimistic about the property sector. He believes that the Philippines is still in the early stages of development, underlining the industry’s potential for growth.

GGR in Philippines expected to double by 2028

The Philippines’ gaming sector is aiming to double its gross gaming revenue by 2028. Alejandro Tengco, Chairman and CEO of PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation), recently announced that at least six new casino projects, collectively valued at around US $3 billion, are in the pipeline. These endeavors are strategically positioned to strengthen the nation’s thriving gaming sector, particularly in anticipation of competition from countries such as Japan and Thailand.

Thriving gaming sector

Tengco anticipates substantial annual growth in the gaming industry and projects a potential record high in gross gaming revenue (GGR) this year. His estimates suggest that GGR could reach a remarkable range of US $7.9 to US $8.8 billion (450 billion to 500 billion pesos) within the next five years.

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