The casino operator is reportedly interested in one of the 17 casinos from Pagcor that will be privatised next year.
Philippines.- As a Cabinet official confirmed earlier this week the government’s intentions to sell 17 casino operated by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), Melco Resorts has expressed its interest in acquiring facilities once the Philippines puts them on sale sometime in 2018.
Lawrence Ho, chairman of Melco, believes that the acquisition of Pagcor casinos would strategically position the company in the rising industry of the Asian country. “If there was a big redevelopment opportunity, a whole hotel that we could redevelop, we would be potentially interested in doing that,” Ho said according to local media. Moreover, he said that the plan is to increase the stake in the Philippines but it depends on the price and if the timing is right. “The Philippines is an exciting market for international entertainment […] and we look forward to continuing to work together with Pagcor in the future,” he added.
As reported earlier this week, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd said that they were working on the Pagcor deal, the first item is those casinos being operated directly by Pagcor. “I think those should be privatised first,” he said. The Secretary said that whilst the study is still ongoing, he’s not backing down from his plans to sell all casinos under Pagcor’s authority. One of the ideas is to sell the Fort Ilocandia casino in Laoag: “We don’t have the valuation yet, it is very difficult because the data on operations are not robust, what I am saying is that we should figure it first by capacity. How many tables they have, or how many visitors did they have last year, what’s the projection, etc,” he added.
Pagcor also said that it would support the department’s plan to privatise all 46 government-owned casinos. “We might as well do it now… That is why we have to analyse how much revenues come from their winnings as against how much of the revenues come from the fees that are being paid. Its not going to happen overnight, and the deals are quite complex so we have to piece it out and see what is the best deal for the government,” finalised Dominguez.