Lawrence Ho, James Packer eyeing Manila Casino

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Australian casino mogul James Packer and Lawrence Ho, who is the son of Macau casino magnate Stanley Ho, are very interested in investing $1 billion into a potential Manila casino venture. Currently, Manila is attempting to become the latest major gambling market after watching both Macau and Singapore experience great success.

As of right now, Manila has already granted $1 billion licences to four different groups, and James Packer and Lawrence Ho would become the fifth group if their plan goes through. Assuming their investment is approved by the government, it’s likely that we could see their vision completed within the next five years since the Philippines is desperate to gain a share of the Asian gambling market.

Singapore has already become the third largest gambling destination in the world (behind Las Vegas and Macau), while Macau pulled in four times as much money as Las Vegas did. It’s too early to speculate where Manila would rank in this Asian discussion, but with four casino projects already in the works, it isn’t unreasonable to think that they could surpass Singapore in the future.

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As for the current investors, three of the four licenses were given to Genting Malaysia Bhd, Alliance Global Group Inc., Bloombury Investments and Belle Corp. (all four are working together), while no names have been released on the fourth licensing agreement (although it’s rumored to be a Japanese company).

Going back to Lawrence Ho and James Packer, the two both own a large stake in Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. Their company is already experienced in the Asian market since they co-own Altira Casino and City of Dreams in Macau. Seeing as how both casinos have experienced a fair amount of success, it’s no wonder why the two businessmen are so interested in the Manila market.

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