Macau gaming and hospitality operator Galaxy Entertainment Group is still committed to building an eco-friendly $300-million to $500-million casino resort on the Philippine island of Boracay, the company itself said in its financial report for the first quarter of 2018.
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Galaxy generated group revenue of HK$18.5 billion during the reviewed period, up 32% from the same three months of 2017. The considerable growth was attributed to “record mass, strong VIP, and operational execution”.
In its latest financial report, the company said that it supports Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan for the revitalization of Boracay. The island was closed on April 26 for a six-month environmental cleanup, after a review by a team of officials from several government departments found that a number of structures on the island were built without the necessary permissions and that businesses operating there were draining effluence into the sea.
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President Duterte threatened to blow up all illegal structures and, following recommendations from the team of officials reviewing Boracay’s environmental state, ordered the island be closed for a period of six months for a much-needed cleanup.
Galaxy and its Philippine partner Leisure and Resorts World Corp. (LRWC) were awarded back in March a provisional license for the construction of a resort in the popular tourist hub and the operation of a casino as part of it. The license was granted by the Philippines’ gaming regulator PAGCOR.
The casino resort plan drew quite some attention as environmental groups and businesses operating on Boracay argued that the island did not need a casino to attract millions of foreign tourists per year.
Clouded by Uncertainty
Uncertainty has been surrounding the Boracay casino project for the past several months as following the announcement about the island’s imminent closure, reports emerged that developers were looking for an alternative site for a casino resort.
LRWC acquired a 23-hectare site on Boracay earlier this year to build the casino resort. Despite the previous reports that the project might materialize elsewhere, reports from the past several days indicated that Galaxy’s LRWC may have acquired additional land on the shuttered island.
Alfredo Benitez, founder of LRWC and current member of the Philippines’ government, told local news outlet the Philippine Star that the casino resort plan is yet to be finalized and that developers are currently in the process of discussing it and making sure that it is environmentally compliant. Mr. Benitez further pointed out that Galaxy and its local partner will also bring experts to assess the area and advise them on developing an ecologically friendly resort.
President Duterte has been among the vocal opponents of the Boracay casino resort project. The country’s top official has traditionally not been warmly disposed to any form of gambling provided in the country since stepping into office in the summer of 2016.
Late last month, PAGCOR Chairwoman Andrea Domingo told media that a final decision regarding the project and whether it would be carried out or not is yet to be made.