Macau’s Galaxy Entertainment had high hopes of building a multi-million dollar casino resort in the tourist friendly Boracay Island in the Philippines. Those plans took a hit earlier this month when President Duterte said that he wasn’t keen on having a casino developed in Boracay. Galaxy Entertainment has confirmed that it has dropped plans to develop a casino resort in Boracay.
The news was also confirmed by Tourism Assistant Secretary Frederick Alegre during a recent press briefing in Boracay, saying that Galaxy Entertainment is now looking for another venue to develop their resort casino.
Boracay Closes Down
The scrapping of the new casino resort came about due to the backlash against the proposal. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced that starting this month, the internationally acclaimed tourist destination will be closed so the government can perform clean-up and proceed with a land reform in the area. According to sources, Boracay has been suffering from the effects of mass tourism, and will have to be closed down for rehabilitation.
The closure of the tourism-dependent island will heavily affect the foreign currency-driven economy. As a result, already more than $1 billion in revenue is expected to be lost and more than 36,000 tourism workers will be left unemployed.
While the main reason for the closure of Boracay remains due to environmental concerns and land reform, many have cried foul against the government’s decision to close it down, saying that one of the reasons behind the closure is due to Galaxy Entertainment’s plans to open a $500 million casino resort on the island.
Opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes even went as far as saying that he believes the president closed the island to make way for the “cargo” to build the casino.
Government Shelves Plans For Boracay Casino
In response to the backlash against the casino resort on Boracay, President Duterte denied any knowledge of plans for a mega-casino in the island and said that there were already many casinos throughout the country and Boracay was not in need of a casino. He emphasized that he is planning to give the Boracay land to Filipino farmers and not to the Macau operator.
His statement generated confusion since many photos and reports confirmed that he was seen in meetings with Lui Che-woo, the chairman of Galaxy Entertainment in December 2017. Galaxy had obtained a casino license and was confident of proceeding with its Boracay casino.
However, the President’s statement was further supported by his spokesperson who said that “there will be no new casino in Boracay” and more recently, a press statement by Alegre that Galaxy Entertainment is now looking for a new site for their resort-casino. Alegre adds that Galaxy will have to go through the whole process again to have their proposal approved.
Gaming regulator Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) confirmed that they had already granted Galaxy Entertainment a provisional gaming license. However Pagcor clarified that the provisional license that they have issued to Galaxy is only the start of a still very long and tedious process to gain the final license to operate which is called the Notice to Commence Casino Operations.
Pagcor said that the license was granted initially because Boracay fell under the Greenfield zone category, which means that it’s an area with high tourism potential and no current existing casinos. It was also granted the license because Galaxy met the minimum investment of not less than $300 million.
Galaxy Entertainment Silent About Future Plans
Despite firm statements from the President and his government that a casino on Boracay Island will not happen, the Leisure and Resorts World Corp (LRWC) said that it continues to be in talks with Galaxy Entertainment and that no final decision has been made with regards to the proposed Boracay casino.
In a statement, LRWC said, “Following protocol, no change in plans or project location would be made without prior consultation and agreement with Pagcor. Contrary to claims that Galaxy has abandoned its planned Boracay project, no such announcement has been made nor communicated with Pagcor.”
According to the original plans, Galaxy Entertainment’s Boracay casino resort was supposed to be a $500 million integrated resort that would stand on a 23-hectare property. The development was expected to generate hundreds of jobs for Boracay locals and bring in at least $100 million in gaming revenues.

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