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Duterte OK'd Galaxy, Megaworld's Boracay casino plans, PAGCOR confirms

President Rodrigo Duterte has given the go-signal for the plans of Macau-based Galaxy Entertainment Group and tycoon Andrew Tan to proceed with their plans to put up integrated casino-resort projects in Boracay Island, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) said Tuesday.

When asked which of the plans of Galaxy Entertainment and Tan’s Megaworld were approved by the President, PAGCOR chairman Andrea Domingo told GMA News Online, “Both.”

She did not elaborate.

On Saturday, Malacañang said Duterte has given his go-signal on the operation of a casino in Boracay. 

Prior to the Palace’s announcement, the President took back his earlier statement and said he would allow the establishment of casinos in Boracay in a bid to generate more funds for the government.

"Prior to the ban imposed for Boracay, yes," Domingo said, when asked if both casino projects have secured gaming licenses from PAGCOR.

In February 2018, Duterte ordered a halt to the entry and creation of new casinos in the Philippines to prevent an oversupply.

He also banned the establishment of casinos in Boracay as he proceeded with the plan to clean up the island for six months. 

Prior to Duterte’s order, both Galaxy Entertainment and Megaworld’s planned casino in its Savoy Hotel brand in Boracay secured provisional licenses for gaming operations from PAGCOR.

In 2017, Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. and its local partner Leisure and Resorts World Corp. announced plans to build a $500-million casino resort in Boracay island. 

Due to Duterte’s casino ban, Leisure and Resorts World dropped the plan with Galaxy Entertainment.

Galaxy Entertainment and Leisure and Resorts World did not respond to requests for comment on the President’s change of heart.

Meanwhile, Tan, in an official statement, said, “We will proceed with our casino project in Boracay Newcoast. We already have several hotels there and we are still building more.”

“There is also a golf course, the only one in the entire Boracay Island. We are very hopeful that the tourism industry in this island will recover fast after the pandemic,” he added. —KBK, GMA News