Entrepreneur and politician Albee Benitez has made a compelling appeal to Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. His request? To revisit the idea of partnering with the company he founded for a US$500-million casino resort on the Philippine holiday island Boracay. The proposal, which dates back to 2017, could potentially transform the island into a world-class gaming destination.
Diplomatic Relations and Comfort Levels
Mr. Benitez emphasized that it’s merely a matter of getting Galaxy Entertainment’s comfort level high enough to return to the project. The company’s customers in Macau are predominantly Chinese, and diplomatic relations between China and the Philippines play a significant role in this context. The administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr recognizes the value of bringing a world-class casino operator to the Philippines, viewing it as an opportunity to boost international tourism and propel the country to greater heights.
The regulatory landscape for gaming on Boracay has been tumultuous. In July 2018, then-Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared a ban on new casino construction on the island. However, by 2021, the national government’s stance seemed to shift toward permitting a casino scheme for Boracay. The delicate balance between environmental concerns and economic development remains at the forefront of discussions.
A Long-Awaited Revival?
Galaxy Entertainment had previously expressed interest in the Boracay project but withdrew in late 2019 due to regulatory uncertainties. Now, with President Marcos Jr.’s administration recognizing its potential, there’s renewed hope for this ambitious venture. Other Philippine conglomerates have also expressed interest in investing in Boracay’s gaming industry, including Alliance Global Group Inc.
As stakeholders deliberate, Boracay awaits its fate—a pristine paradise that could soon host a world-class casino resort.