Galaxy Entertainment could resume plans for Boracay casino

The project for a casino in Boracay was announced in December 2017.
The project for a casino in Boracay was announced in December 2017.

With Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte changing his mind about a ban on gambling on the island, Galaxy Entertainment could resume its plans for resort development on Boracay.

The Philippines.- The Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, has rekindled the possibility of allowing gambling in Bocaray, noting that his country needs income to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Duterte stated: “We don’t have money now. Where we can get money, I will get it. If it will be from gambling, so be it.”

The news leaves the door open for Galaxy Entertainment to come back with a casino resort project on Boracay.

In 2018, the casino operator got a licence to build a $500m IR on the island. It partner with Leisure & Resorts World Corp. (LRWC) and bought parcels of land to start building the IR, which the company described as a low-rise, eco-friendly project.

However, Duterte closed the island destination to tourism out of concerns for the environment, saying that an increased number of visitors was turning Boracay into a “cesspool.” LRWC dropped its plans soon afterwards, leaving Galaxy Entertainment without a partner.

In July, the possibility of casino gaming on Boracay island resurfaced after the House of Representatives approved the creation of the Boracay Island Development Authority as a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC).

However, the bill, was highly criticised by government agencies, local government units, stakeholders and some congressmen who want to protect the island’s environment. A “No to Bida as GOCC” movement has been campaigning against the move.

Natividad Bernardino, chairman of the Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation Management Group, said: “The problem of Boracay is one of over-tourism and overdevelopment. What we need in terms of sustaining the rehabilitation and ecological sustainability of the island is a regulatory body instead of a GOCC.”

She said the island has already exceeded its carrying capacity for the environment and population, and that there is no more space for further investment and development.

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