A Philippine company Udenna Development Corp recently carried out a groundbreaking ceremony for a casino resort development in Lapu-Lapu City, located on Mactan Island in Cebu province.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) made the announcement this week stating that Udenna had been granted a provisional license to develop the casino resort.
Owned by Philippine businessman Dennis Uy, Udenna is headquartered in Davao City and will be investing around $341 million into the casino project which has been named Emerald Resort and Casino.
In a statement Andrea Domingo the head of Pagcor said
We hope that in two or three years’ time, we will be here again to witness the opening of this project. We hope that this will be a precedent for all integrated resorts that will be built outside of Entertainment City in Manila because in Cebu City, there will be a world-class resort casino that is worth taking a look.
Uy said that the project will help transform Mactan into one of the top tourist destinations in the region. He added that the project will benefit the local community with thousands of jobs being created and will increase revenue for local businesses. The casino will also provide an opportunity to showcase Filipino talent and hospitality.
The casino site is a 12.5-hectare property facing a beach and is located around 4 miles from Cebu’s international airport. The project is expected to consist of a casino, a large retail complex as well as luxury hotels. The first phase is expected to open by 2019 while the remaining facilities will be opened by the year 2022.
U.S. architect Paul Steelman has been commissioned to design the Emerald Casino Resort. Steelman has been responsible for designing several gaming projects across the U.S. and Asia including The Sands Macau and The Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Steelman said that despite including gaming, the property has been designed to be family friendly.
Pagcor had announced in March, that it was imposing a moratorium for five years for new casino licenses in Manila. However it said that it would still welcome applications for casino projects in other smaller regions of the country with lower capital requirements.
The Philippine gaming market has been steadily gaining prominence, recording gaming revenue of PHP149 billion in 2016.The country’s growing relations with China is expected to help boost the country’s tourism sector further, although the recent attack by a gunman on Resorts World Mania is expected dampen sentiments near term.