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Belle eyes additional 10 has for 2nd casino at Pagcor City

By Zinnia B. Dela Peña (The Philippine Star) Updated February 09, 2012 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Leisure and gaming firm Belle Corp. is planning to lease a 10-hectare lot within the Pagcor Entertainment City along Manila Bay which it intends to develop into a second casino complex after its Belle Grande Manila Bay project.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange yesterday, Belle corporate secretary A. Bayani K. Tan said the company has requested the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. for a lease proposal on at least 10 hectares of land at the 100-hectare Pagcor Entertainment City but pointed out that no agreement has yet been reached with the government.

Willy N. Ocier, vice-chairman of Belle, said the group would need to shell out $1 billion in fresh capital for the new 10-hectare site should Pagcor accept its proposal.

Ocier said Belle is now accelerating the development of its $750-million integrated resort complex, Belle Grande Manila Bay, which is slated for a grand opening in 2013.

Upon completion, Belle Grande will be offering a total of 880 hotel rooms under three brands of five-star and six-star quality, and will have a total gaming area of 19,626 square meters with 350 gaming tables and 1,900 slot machines. The first floor will cater to the mass market while over 6,000 sqm of space will cater to VIPs.

The group is looking to build an all-suites hotel to be managed by the Raintree Group of Discovery.

Aside from Belle, other franchise holders for the Pagcor Entertainment City are Japan’s Aruze Group, Andrea Tan’s Megaworld and Bloomberg Resorts of businessman Enrique Razon Jr.

The country is seeking to make gaming one of the pillars of the tourism industry as it eyes to corner at least 10 percent of the $115-billion global gaming pie.

Asia Pacific is seen as the fastest-growing region for casino gaming spending over the next five years and even surpass the United States as the world’s largest casino gaming market.

Growth in Asia Pacific would mainly be driven by the region’s economic growth and the subsequent rise in disposable income and growing interest by people for gambling.

Asia is forecast to chalk in revenues of $79.3 billion in 2015, up from $ 34.3 billion in 2010, with a compound annual growth rate of 18.3 percent.

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