Big New Bets
There's a Drive to Build New Gambling Hot Spots in East and Southeast Asia
By Sara Bongiorni
Asia's major gambling destinations are multiplying beyond Macau and Singapore. In December, Japan legalized casinos for the first time, spurring potentially billions of dollars in project investments. Legislation in Vietnam went into effect in March that for the first time allows locals, with some stipulations, to gamble in the country. In those countries and beyond, sponsors are placing big bets on gambling projects.
Project: Lapu-Lapu Leisure Mactan
Location: Mactan Island, Cebu, the Philippines
Target completion: 2019 (for the casino, retail complex and hotels)
Budget: US$341 million
In May, the government committee overseeing casinos approved the first integrated resort outside the capital city of Manila: The beachfront space on Mactan Island will eventually include a skydiving center on a pier, luxury hotels and a retail complex. Given the competition, it will need to stand out: Three Manila casinos opened side by side in the last five years—and a fourth is set to open in 2020.
Project: Paradise City
Location: Incheon, South Korea
Completion: April 2017
Budget: KRW1.3 trillion
As the first multiuse gambling resort in South Korea, the sprawling 330,000-square-meter (3.6 million-square-foot) space contains 54 game tables and 281 slot machines alongside banquet halls, spas, restaurants and bars. An estimated 1.5 million visitors are expected in 2017.
Project: Vinpearl Phu Quoc Casino
Location: Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam
Target completion: 2017
Budget: US$4 billion
Spread over 18,800 square meters (202,362 square feet) and two floors, the casino project will also accommodate five-star hotel rooms, a convention center and various shopping, dining and entertainment facilities. It's one of just two casinos in Vietnam to receive government permission for locals to gamble—other sponsors are no doubt eager to launch projects to capitalize on the new market. Oliver Massmann, a partner with the Hanoi, Vietnam office of the Duane Morris law firm, which works with casino and gaming firms, expects the new government legislation to spur investment in big projects. “The decree is the best opportunity ever for [foreign investors], and they have been waiting for this for too long already.”
“The decree is the best opportunity ever for [foreign investors], and they have been waiting for this for too long already.”
—Oliver Massmann, Duane Morris, Hanoi, Vietnam
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