Landing Development’s “NayonLanding” In The Philippines Halted
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is giving the casino industry a lot of headaches as in recent months he has upset the plans of two major operators.
The latest casino operator to face the President’s sudden change of mindset is Hong Kong-based Landing International Development Ltd.
Landing International broke ground on its $1.5 billion casino project “NayonLanding” located in Entertainment City, Manila earlier this week only to find out an hour later that President Duterte had decided to cancel the project. This came as a shock to the company as they had signed a lease agreement with the Philippine government and received a government-issued license.
The government did not issue a clear reason for the sudden change of stance other than to claim that the lease agreement no longer represents the best interests of state coffers.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque told the media that he was sorry to burst Landing Entertainment’s bubble, but Duterte sees the current deal as grossly disadvantageous. Duterte has publicly stated that he hates gambling and that he won’t be allowing any more casinos to be built. He is of the belief that the gambling market in the Philippines is at risk of becoming over-saturated. There are currently about 1,500 gambling tables as well as close to 10,000 slot machines operating in the country.
The decision to put a stop to new development comes at a time in which the market has grown by 11.6% over the previous year. The Philippines is among the world’s hottest gambling markets and billions of dollars are generated every year. Landing Development’s planned casino would have housed 150 gaming tables and 240 slot machines.
This is the second casino operator to be negatively impacted in recent months. Galaxy Entertainment Group also received a setback after their plans to build a $500 million casino in Boracay were unexpectedly thwarted by the Philippine government. Galaxy Entertainment’s casino proposal had already received government approval and had been signed off on. They were ready to proceed when Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte suddenly canceled the deal citing environmental concerns.
Landing International Will Fight Back
A spokesperson from Landing Development has said that unless the agreement is nullified by the courts on solid legal grounds, the company believes that they have a valid leaseholder and would be able to legally go ahead with the project. Landing Development intends to fight the government’s decision.
Flip-flopping on issues is something that Duterte has done in the past. After boasting about how he was open to seeing a regulated gambling market, Duterte changed his mind and decided that he wanted to shut down the entire online gambling industry.
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