Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is planning to cancel Landing International Development’s USD1.5-billion proposed casino resort in Manila, just one week after the Hong Kong-listed company was granted a provisional gaming permit from the country’s gaming regulator and only minutes after it broke ground on the project.
According to Reuters, a spokesperson for the government said that the contract Landing initially signed had put the government at a disadvantage because the rental payment was unacceptable.
“Sorry to burst your bubble, people, but the president said that is grossly disadvantageous to the government,” spokesman Harry Roque said, according to Reuters.
However, Landing said in a statement that it believes the firm remains a “valid leaseholder” and can continue developing the project “unless the lease contract is cancelled or nullified on solid legal grounds by the courts.”
The project is thought to include 155 gaming tables and 239 slot machines. It was slate to commence operations by 2022.
It is not the first time that gaming regulator PAGCOR and the Philippine president have issued contradictory statements regarding future casino developments.
In April this year, Duterte said he would establish the destination island of Boracay as a land reform area on the basis of environmental concerns, effectively rejecting a provisional USD500-million casino project already green lighted by PAGCOR to partners Galaxy Entertainment Group and Philippine-based AB Leisure Exponent.