Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) -- The Philippines awarded licenses to four gaming operators that committed $5 billion of investments in a Manila casino complex, chief gambling regulator Cristino Naguiat told lawmakers today in Manila.
The government sees $2 billion in additional gaming investments “over time” and expects the entertainment complex to be visited by a million tourists, Naguiat said. Travellers International Hotel Group, Bloomberry Resorts Corp., Tiger Resorts, Leisure and Entertainment Inc. and the SM group were awarded permits, he said. Bloomberry is scheduled to open later this year and Belle to follow, Naguiat said.
Naguiat is being investigated for allegedly receiving gifts from Japanese casino operator Kazuo Okada, who controls Tiger Resorts. The Philippines expects annual gaming revenue to reach at least $10 billion, Naguiat said, without elaborating. The gaming agency forecasts revenues to rise to 45 billion pesos this year from 36.6 billion pesos in 2011, Naguiat said. Today’s Congress hearing was set before the Okada issue.
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