Gaming boom in Asia sees Philippines taking over from Macau with Naguiat at the head of Pagcor.
The Philippines is making history in the gambling world as it now hosts or plans to host some of the biggest integrated resorts in Asia. Entertainment City on Manila Bay will soon harbor integrated resorts so huge it will give Macau and Las Vegas a run for their money. The four properties are estimated at $1 billion each.
• Resorts World in Las Vegas will look like a Chinese village with 6,500 rooms
• Tiger Resort provisional gaming license risks being suspended
• Resorts World Manila has the Philippines beaming on the regional gambling map
The chairman and CEO of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor), Cristino Naguiat, is making sure that the boom is kept clean. Pagcor, which is the Philippine government’s casino regulator, also operates casinos and other gaming facilities of its own which are situated all over the Philippines.
Some of the recent resorts that have Philippine poker rooms include Enrique Razon’s Bloomberry Resorts called Solaire Resort and Casino, which opened up 2 years ago. Then in December 2014, City of Dreams Manila was born. By the end of 2018, two more resorts are expected to open their doors.
Resorts World Manila is in the middle of huge expansion
Because of its blooming success, the Resorts World Manila, which is Manila’s first integrated resort is expanding. Because of IRs like this one, which offer high quality and wide choices, the Philippines have become a favorite gambling site right up there beside the Las Vegas Strip and Macau.
Naguiat, who was a Pagcor accountant, before becoming chief executive at a hospital, was chosen by Philippine President Benigno Aquino III when was elected in 2010, to manage Pagcor. According to the Philippine gambling news, Chairman Naguiat is honest and determined.
‘Asian Godfathers’ highlights the corrupt activities of Asia’s elite and government officials
Under Naguiat, and Aquino, the government administration has had to clean up its act. Joe Studwell, a author of the book ‘Asian Godfathers’, gives a clear insight into the backroom deals that had government and business elites exploiting the poor of Asia for over 100 years.
Studwell highlighted that of all the wealthy in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, the Philippines elites were the worst of the lot. Leaving behind them a destructive path of corruption and conspiracy in Modern Asia. So much so that in 2009, the Philippines ranked number 139 in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, 60 places behind China.
USD $2.2 million fine
5 years later, Philippines ranked only 85 and Pagcor, with a head like Naguiat’s, is set on using Philippine gambling laws to regulate the gaming industry, ruling curry favoring out, regarding the casino operations it owns. Indeed, while Pagcor has extended the role of private gaming operators, it has closed two of its own casinos in Metro Manila.
Pagcor has also expropriated the USD $2.2 million guarantee payment that it had got from Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Incorporated, for not meeting the minimum requirement of 50% project completion. Tiger Resort that bid to develop Manila Bay Resorts was warned last year by Pagcor that it would be penalized should there be a delay in the project.
US and the Philippines seeks to build casinos in each other’s country
Because its March opening was delayed, Tiger Resorts had to fork out a fine for its US$2.3 billion venture which it hopes will be finished by Q1, 2017. Before Naguiat took office, US luxury casino operators were not allowed to build casinos in the Philippines. As icons like Caesars Entertainment has expressed interest in building in Manila, Naguiat, says he will see once Entertainment City expansion has been completed.
Genting Group and Crown Resorts who are current partners of Pagcor are also planning to open up casinos on the Las Vegas Strip. Genting’s Resorts World Las Vegas started building their $4 billion Asia-themed resort and casino last week. If Manila licensees get Nevada gold standard approval then President Aquino and Naguiat should be proud. However, as Aquino’s mandate ends next year, there is a furrow on everyone’s brow as they wonder what will happen to the casino industry in the Philippines if Naguiat gets kicked out too.