Caesars Entertainment wants to bet US billion on a resort casino adjoining Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport, and if the Las Vegas-based casino giant can raise that to .5 billion, it might be a go.
In October, Philippine President Benigno Aquino met with CEO Gary Loveman, President of International Development Steven Tight and other top Caesars officials to discuss the plan, which Caesars has followed up with a written expression of interest, according to Cristino Naguiat, head of Philippine gaming regulator PAGCOR.
The government, however, is requiring that new casino investors commit to at least $1.5 billion, $500 million more than the minimum set for the four developers licensed at the government’s Entertainment City reclamation district on Manila Bay.
“If we bring in something new, it has to add value to the development of Entertainment City,” Naguiat told Reuters. “They will be facing new terms of reference—the new investors.”
An airport location would put Caesars in direct competition with Resorts World Manila, which opened its casino hotel complex opposite the city’s main international gateway in 2009 and has grown it into the country’s largest and most lucrative gaming operation.
It also would bring the number of Manila mega-resorts, either existing or under development, to six, a possibility the government would be expected to welcome as it looks increasingly to resort-scale gaming to boost foreign tourism and investment and provide badly needed jobs.
“There is no major international brand currently in Manila,” Tight said in an interview with Bloomberg. “There’s a chance to create something that will drive tourism, that will really put Manila on the regional tourist map.”