The famous beaches of Boracay can soon expect a number of gamblers to flock to the island due to the construction of brand new casinos.
Billionaire Andrew Tan, owner of the real-estate company Megaworld, stated that he’s ready to begin his casino project in Boracay after President Duterte announced that gambling was now allowed on the island.
“We will proceed with our casino project in Boracay Newcoast,” Tan said in a statement. “We already have several hotels there and we are still building more.” He added that he and his group were “hopeful” that the tourism industry would soon recover after the pandemic.
Tan’s project, Boracay Newcoast, was unable to gain traction in previous years since Duterte’s ban on the area. In 2018, Duterte ordered a 6-month long ban on Boracay, barring all tourists from entering in order to remedy the island’s deteriorating environmental situation. When the island did reopen, casinos were prohibited from operating.
Aside from Megaworld, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) CEO Andrea Domingo also previously stated that Boracay was poised for a separate casino project, to be carried out by Macau-based Galaxy Entertainment Group.
Like Megaworld, Galaxy also sought to start its project in 2018 with a $500 million proposal. The proposal was rejected by Duterte and the project did not push through.
Duterte’s choice to overturn the casino ban was, according to him, a means to collect more funds for the country. “Ngayon po wala tayong pera. Kung saan man tayo makakuha ng pera, kukunin ko. Kung diyan sa gambling, so be it,” he said last month.
(We don’t have money now. Where we can get money, I will get it. If it’s in gambling, so be it.)