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SMIC gets provisional Pagcor license for gaming venture

By Zinnia B. Dela Peña Updated December 13, 2008 12:00 AM

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SM Investments Corp. (SMIC) the invement holding firm of the Sy family, said it has secured a provisional license from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) to build gaming facilities which will be leased to a foreign casino operator.

In a statement, SMIC said Pagcor’s grant of a provisional license marks the start of the transformation of a 60-hectare property within the Mall of Asia complex along Roxas Boulevard into a world-class business and entertainment destination.

SMIC chief financial officer Jose Sio said the conglomerate, through unit SM Land Inc. will concentrate on providing the public with the best entertainment facilities to attract tourists and the general public. “We will just offer great entertainment value. The gaming side will be provided by an international operator,” he said.

Sio said plans include the establishment of several hotels by leading international hotel chains like the Raddisson and the upscale Regent brands. High-end retail shops, a theater for the performing arts, a sports arena, residential condominium buildings, boutique hotels, and a ferry terminal that will directly link the Mall of Asia complex with SMIC’s Hamilo Coast in Nasugbu, Batangas are also in the pipeline.

SMIC, one of the country’s largest conglomerates with interests in real estate and properties, retail and banking, did not identify the foreign gaming operators they are in talks with.

Earlier reports said SMIC and Asia Pacific Gaming of Australia held exploratory talks for a possible partnership to build a world-class gaming facility in the Philippines.

SMIC, which owns three of the top 10 biggest malls in the world, said the project is in line with the group’s thrust into tourism development.

“We believe in the country’s strong potential in tourism. As such, SM will be at the forefront in providing much-needed infrastructure and facilities for more tourists to enjoy the country’s scenic destinations, while experiencing the warmth of Philippine hospitality,” said SMIC vice-chairman Henry Sy Jr.


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