July 26, 2018 / 9:16 AM / 3 months ago

Philippine regulator approves Landing's $1.5 bln casino project

MANILA, July 26 (Reuters) - The Philippines’ gaming regulator has granted Hong Kong’s Landing International Development Ltd a license to build a $1.5 billion integrated casino project in the capital, an official said on Thursday.

This will be the fifth casino project in the Philippines’ smaller version of the Las Vegas strip, highlighting the growth prospects in one of Asia’s fastest-growing gambling markets.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp issued a provisional license for Landing’s theme park with a casino component south of the capital, Alfredo Lim, president of the regulator, told Reuters.

Total investment for the integrated casino-resort is around $1.5 billion, which will be funded by the group’s internal resources and debt financing, Landing told the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Ground breaking is scheduled in August, allowing the facility to start operations in 2022, the company added.

In February, Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the gaming regulator to stop processing new applications for licenses to prevent oversupply.

Landing’s casino project will be located in Entertainment City, the Philippines’ answer to gaming hubs in Macau and Singapore.

The Philippine affiliates of Japan’s Universal Entertainment Corp and Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd, and local company Bloomberry Resorts Corp are currently operating billion-dollar casinos in Entertainment City.

The Philippine gaming sector’s growth was fuelled by the mass market and Chinese high rollers enticed by warmer ties between Beijing and Manila.

Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Sunil Nair

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