New Local Player for a Casino and Resort in Cebu?

Agroproducts distributor Calata Corp., which is now diversifies into real estate, announced to look for a gaming license from the state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) to invest and manage a future gambling and entertainment resort in Northern Mactan on Cebu island.

“Mactan Leisure City” project is due to see construction starting by January 2017 representing a total investment of P65 billion, the equivalent of almost US$1.5 billion.

The Philippines has emerged as one of Asia’s hottest gambling hubs, following China’s crackdown on corruption scaring Chinese high rollers away from Macau. the Philippines -despite ongoing tensions with China- appears as an attractive destination for Chinese gamblers due to its relatively close proximity. Flyiong time are approximately of two to four hours from most chinese large cities.

Calata also expects to own 51% of a real estate and investment trust that will hold assets of the future integrated resort in Cebu.The project is part of a recent partnership with Sino-America Gaming Investment Group LLC (Sino-America) and Macau Resources Group Ltd. (MRG). The integrated resort will stretch over 14 hectares on Mactan Island.

According to the project description, Mactan Leisure City  would feature three hotels, a casino and entertainment complex, commercial, retail and conference facilities as well as a yacht club. Mactan Leisure City is due to be completed and operational by the middle of 2020.

Cebu is in the midst of a new tourism boom as many new tourist facilities are being now developed. Sheraton is now constructing “The Residences at Sheraton Cebu Mactan Resort”. The complex which is due to be completed by 2019 will feature Tower Residences that will comprise 154 one to three-fitted bedroom apartments and 36 Courtyard Pool Residences with private pools. The hotel will have another 250 rooms and suites, three dining venues and outstanding MICE facilities.

A Filipino investor,Rockwell Land Corp. is also developing of a chain of luxury resorts under the brand “Aruga Hotels”. Between P6 and P7 billion (US$133 to 150 million) are expected to be invested  in two new Aruga Hotels—one in Rockwell Center in Makati (a 280-room boutique hotel) and another locatd also in Mactan (a 300-room beachfront resort).

The modernisation and expansion of Cebu Mactan International Airport and the construction of the new P27.9-billion Cebu-Cordova Bridge will help ease traffic within Metro Cebu including Mactan. They are  also generating a boom in accommodation. Two other hotel projects have also been launched in Lapu-Lapu City, a new resort destination. In total -and excluding Mactan Leisure City- accommodation developments will add more than 1,500 new rooms until 2020. Cebu has currently close to 11,000 rooms  including 7,000 rooms for Cebu metropolitan area.