Okada casino a ‘no go’ without local partner – PAGCOR


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But the Japanese gaming company says it is already in talks with potential partners

Photo shows the artist's rendition of the Okada group's Manila Bay Resorts in the Entertainment City in Manila

MANILA, Philippines – A Japanese owned gaming company bent on building a casino complex in Manila Bay can’t operate until they find a Philippine partner as required by law, according to the head of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR).

Okada is set to open its US$2-billion integrated hotel and casino resort within the PAGCOR-sponsored Entertainment City by March 2015.

“Even if they finish it they still cannot open it if they do not have a local partner. Before opening they should abide by all Philippine laws,” said PAGCOR chairman Cristino Naguiat Jr.

Laws require a 60-40 ownership in favor of Filipino investors when a firm acquires a land in the country.

Okada’s project, dubbed Manila Bay Resorts, will stand on 44 hectares of land within the Entertainment City complex.

Naguiat said that Okada’s Tiger Resorts Leisure and Entertainment Inc is already in talks with possible local partners in order to proceed as planned.

But the Japanese company had already ended joint venture agreements with two local property companies, specifically, Century Properties Group Inc and Robinsons Land Corp.

Okada is owned by billionaire gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada. He has been accused of bribing PAGCOR officials to obtain the Manila Bay Resorts contract and maintain his Philippine businesses. 

The scandal has resulted in investigations by the Nevada gaming body and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Naguiat has threatened to strip Okada of its license if evidence of bribery is found. 

Manila Bay Resorts is envisioned to be world class casino resort complex with luxury hotels and restaurants, commercial facilities, residences, Vegas-style water fountains and an enormous indoor pool.

Company officials say it can create 15,000 direct and indirect jobs.

PAGCOR Entertainment City is Manila’s big bet on the booming Asian gaming industry. – Rappler.com

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