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Philippines – Cagayan Authority signs deal for $100m casino despite Duterte’s no casino stance

By - 7 November 2018

Chinese company Shanghai Jucheng Supply Management Group has said it will spend $100m on building an integrated casino resort within the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport in the Philippines.

The announcement comes despite Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte stating there would be no new casinos under his leadership.

Despite this statement, the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority has signed a memorandum of understanding with Jucheng Group, located in Santa Ana, Luzon’s most northern town in Cagayan province.

A spokesperson for Shanghai Jucheng Supply Management Group said: “We intend to invest at least US$100m in comprehensive holiday development projects in the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and the Free Trade Port Area of the Philippines, including township establishment and infrastructure, logistics, port and airport operations, duty-free shops, hotels and finance.”

Cagayan Economic Zone Authority administrator and Chief Executive Raul Lambino said the inspiration for the project was to create a Jeju Island-esque project.

“This is one of the few unspoiled spots in the country that will cater to the sun worshipper, the nature lover and the adventurer,” said Mr. Lambino. “Over the next few years, the Chinese group will pour in investments estimated at US$100m to develop this rarely explored corner off the Northern Pacific Ocean that is part of the sprawling [CEZA] territory. They want to add more value to our natural resources in a more sustainable way while also protecting our environment.”

Back in August President Duterte said: “I hate gambling. I do not want it. There will be no casinos outside of what are existing. I am not granting anything.”

There were nine private casino companies in the Philippines last year running 1,444 gaming tables and 9,427 electronic gaming machines. GGR increased by 11.6 per cent to 176.5bn pesos (£2.5bn) in 2017. PAGCOR has said that so far GGR at its own casinos is up 18.7 per cent up to September. They accounted for PHP59.8bn of the 2017 total.

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