Chinese Company Plans to Build Casino Resort in Cagayan, Despite President Duterte’s Gambling Ban

Chinese group reveals $100-million integrated resort scheme, eying expansion to the Philippines Cagayan Special Economic Zone

A Chinese group has expressed interest in building a $100-million casino resort in the Philippines’ Cagayan Special Economic Zone, despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s veto on the construction of new gambling venues around the nation.

In a statement on its website, the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), the body overseeing the special economic zone, said that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Shanghai Jucheng Supply Chain Management (Group) Co., Ltd. The company has revealed plans to build a Jeju Island-inspired resort with a gaming floor, theme parks, and a number of other facilities.

According to the Chinese group’s website, its activities include bulk commodity trade, logistics, and customers clearance services, among others. However, it is not clear whether the company is involved in any other tourism projects.

In its statement, CEZA said that the group has been looking into a tourism destination that matches the allure of South Korea’s Jeju Island, which is home to several integrated resorts, including ones that feature casino facilities.

As mentioned earlier, the latest wave of President Duterte’s crackdown on gambling includes a ban on the construction of new casinos in the country. However, the Cagayan Special Economic Zone is regulated under the Republic Act No. 7922, which authorizes CEZA to award a casino license to an interested party. It is yet to be seen how the Philippines’ top official will react to the news of a potential new casino project.

Previous Cagayan Casino Resort Reports

It emerged back in July that four international companies had submitted letters of intent to CEZA expressing their interest in building an integrated resort in the special economic zone. CEZA CEO Raul Lambino revealed that the companies in question originated from South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.

The executive also said that three of the companies had pitched $100-million projects, while the fourth had presented a plan for the development of a $500-million integrated resort in Cagayan. The names of the companies were not disclosed back then.

Mr. Lambino said in July that CEZA had 55,000 hectares of land available for development and that aside from a casino facility, any new resorts should also include hotels, entertainment facilities, and food and beverage options.

In its Monday statement, CEZA said that Jucheng has also expressed interest in expanding its footprint across the economic zone through multiple other, non-gambling, operations. For instance, the company has revealed plans to engage in Cagayan’s fintech industry through a trade and exchange operation using the rapidly growing blockchain technology.

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