Businessman and Mayor of Bacolod Alfredo Albelardo “Albee” Benitez shared that he has not given up on his company’s plan to establish a $500-million integrated casino resort on the Island of Boracay.
Currently, Mr. Benitez is the majority owner of DigiPlus Interactive Corporation, which was formerly known as Leisure and Resorts World Corporation (LRWC). In a recent interview with some media hub representatives, he shared that DigiPlus is having negotiations with another company for its integrated casino resort project. He noted that the firm was still uncertain about establishing the project because his company was unable to guarantee that it could provide everything promised as part of the potential agreement.
As previously reported by CasinoGamesPro, in 2018, then-president Rodrigo Duterte issued an order to halt the entry of new casinos in the Philippines as part of an effort to prevent an oversupply of casino gambling services. He also suspended the establishment of casinos on Boracay Island as he proceeded with his plan for a six-month island clean-up that required some closures.
A year before the announcement of Boracay Island’s clean-up and casino ban, the Macau-based gambling giant Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. and its local partner Leisure and Resorts World Corporation unveiled plans to develop a massive casino resort worth $500 million that would have been hosted in a famous tourist destination. As part of the project, a subsidiary of LRWC acquired about 23 hectares of land on Boracay Island for the casino resort project.
LRWC’s Casino Resort Project Expected to Receive the Authorities’ Approval, Benitez Believes
All was going well, especially considering the fact that Galaxy Entertainment and LRWC were granted the required gaming licenses from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation even before the 2018 order of then-President Duterte. Unfortunately, LRWC decided to drop the plan in 2019 following Duterte’s directive.
A couple of years later, in 2021, President Duterte had a change of heart and announced that he would permit the establishment of casinos on the Island of Boracay in an effort to generate more funds for the Government.
In March 2023, LRWC changed its name and became DigiPlus, a holding company for all its subsidiaries in a number of entertainment and gaming sectors, such as AB Leisure Exponent Inc. (ABLE), which currently owns more than 130 bingo parlors. Furthermore, the company owns Total Gamezone Xtreme Inc. – the one that assigned and purchased the rights, assets, and interests of Digiwave Solutions Inc., which currently holds an eGames station operating permit issued by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
Mr. Alfredo Benitez then shared he was confident that his project would be given the green light, saying that the Marcos administration was aware of the value of bringing over a world-class casino operator to the country. Although he stepped down from the company’s management to once again pursue a political career in 2021, he confirmed that he is not giving up on the casino resort project on the Island of Boracay.
Now, he has shared that his company’s partner had laid down all the necessary preparations and the companies were given the necessary license to proceed with the project.
According to Mr. Benitez, the ongoing diplomatic situation between the Philippine and the Chinese Governments would also be a factor for Galaxy Entertainment to come back.