Billionaire businessman Manuel Villar plans to build a casino resort in the Metro Manila area; the property will target international gamblers
The Philippines’ richest man is looking to tap into the country’s gaming market, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reports. The family of Manuel Villar has proposed to develop a hotel and casino resort in Las Piñas, a city in Metro Manila.
The property will be developed and operated by Prime Asset Ventures Inc., a company run by Mr. Villar’s son, Manuel Paolo Villar, and its wholly owned subsidiary Vertex Entertainment and Resorts Corp.
Gold Coast Entertainment City, as the integrated resort will be called, will spread over between 10 and 15 hectares of land along C2 extension of Barangay Manuyo 2. In a letter to Las Piñas Mayor Imelda Aguilar dated April 4, PAVI and Vertex officials said that the property will include a casino, hotels, food and beverage facilities, retail space, and entertainment amenities, among others.
The resort will be strategically built not far from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and will look to attract international gambling customers.
The April 4 letter describing the project further read that it will be designed to “convey a resort-like atmosphere.” Its accommodation options and attractions will include “nontraditional options to target a younger demographic of gamers and entertainment seekers,” it also became known.
Will the Casino Moratorium Impact the Villar Family’s Project?
The Villar family was among the interested developers who managed to obtain a provisional gaming license before Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte introduced a moratorium on new casino license applications in a bid to restrict the proliferation of gambling in the country.
According to previous reports, Mr. Villar and his family had planned to build a resort in Dasmariñas. It seems that Metro Manila has proved a more attractive location. The Philippine capital and its metropolitan area currently host several integrated resorts, including Resorts World Manila, Solaire Resort & Casino, City of Dreams Manila, and Okada Manila.
The Villar family’s project still needs approval from Las Piñas city officials in order to move forward. The City Council will have to hold a hearing on the proposed Gold Coast resort in order to review and rule on PAVI’s request for nonobjection clearance.
The recent letter to the Mayor of Las Piñas stated that PAVI, its subsidiary and key contractor partners all have “the resources, experience and capability to master plan, develop, ensure the completion” of the proposed complex and to operate it once launched.
News about Mr. Villar’s interest in building a casino in Metro Manila arrive shortly after President Duterte indicated that his three-year campaign against all things gambling might be coming to an end. The Philippines’ top official said that he did not have the resources to combat gambling in the way he wished.
With estimated net worth of around $5.5 billion (Forbes: 2019), Mr. Villar is the Philippines’ richest man.
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