Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Galaxy Scraps Boracay Casino Plan, Seeks Alternative Site

Casino News Daily
Galaxy Scraps Boracay Casino Plan, Seeks Alternative Site

Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group has scrapped plans to build a $500-million gaming resort on Boracay and will seek an alternative site for a project of similar scale, an official from the Philippine Department of Tourism told media today.

It became known earlier this year that Galaxy has partnered Philippine gaming group Leisure and Resorts World Corporation to seek approval for an integrated resort with a casino floor in the popular tourism destination. The two companies were granted a provisional license from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, PAGCOR, last month and secured a 23-hectare site on Boracay for their resort.

News about Galaxy’s plan to enter the Philippine gaming and hospitality industry emerged at the time when Boracay was making the headlines for another reason. Following an environmental review, the findings of which were made public in February, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte called the popular tourist hub a “cesspool” and undertook steps to close it for an environmental cleanup.

An order for the island’s closure was issued in April. Boracay is now set to be closed for a period of six months starting April 26.

During a Tuesday press conference on Boracay, Tourism Assistant Secretary Frederick Alegre said that Galaxy has informed the Department of Tourism that it would no longer pursue plans for a large-scale resort on the island and will look for another site across the Philippines to develop a similar property.

The Department of Tourism official also explained that the company and its local partner will have to repeat the whole accreditation process and to obtain a new provisional license from PAGCOR.

The announcement about Galaxy backing off from its previous plan comes a week after a spokesman for President Duterte said that the country’s top official would not permit the construction of a casino on the island.

Upcoming Cleanup

A recently conducted environmental review of the island discovered that a number of structures had been built without the necessary permissions. In addition, nearly 200 businesses were found to have been discharging waste water into the sea without the proper treatment, thus polluting the water and risking the health of swimmers.

The upcoming closure of Boracay is expected to pave the way for tearing down illegal buildings, building a waste-to-energy plant, and constructing a bypass to mitigate traffic. No budget for the environmental cleanup has been announced yet and crucial details about how it will be carried out are yet to be revealed.

Experts and environmental officials have pointed out that six months may not be enough of a rehabilitation period and that the planned cleanup may go beyond that period. However, they have agreed that the overhaul is necessary as the island has been struggling with the strain of over two million tourists each year.

The post Galaxy Scraps Boracay Casino Plan, Seeks Alternative Site appeared first on Casino News Daily.

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