The President and CEO of the Clark Development Corporation (CDC), Atty Agnes Devanadera, said Thursday that the body was managing the number of casino developments it allows despite having “many applicants” awaiting approval.
Atty Devanadera, who was appointed to the CDC by Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr last September, was speaking at the IAG Academy Summit on Clark’s push to become a leading tourism and MICE destination, with gaming playing a key part in that.
However, she said the priority for Clark right now was more hotel rooms, not more casinos.
“We are trying to manage the number of casinos because we want those who are already there, those who have invested, to be able to maximize their potential in terms of generating revenues,” Atty Devanadera said. “We have six casinos right now although there are many applicants.
“We have 4,007 hotel rooms and this is where the corporate investors come in. We need more hotel rooms.”
Dennis Andreaci, Senior Vice President Casino for Clark’s Hann Resorts, told IAG it was important that the CDC remains judicious in how it grows the local market.
“The biggest thing is high quality hotels, more F&B, more facilities because that’s the first thing that’s needed,” he explaioned. “The current casinos have a lot more ability to expand but if arrivals will increase over time then we need the rooms.
“I agree with what [Atty Devanadera] said because if you go and just offer a lot of licenses and it doesn’t contribute to the whole in any significant way then its value is counterproductive.
“The government is very selective in how they do this and if [additional licenses] add to the overall facility of Clark as a destination, then it’s very positive. But it also depends on what sort of facilities people are bringing. If someone is coming in with some new things, if someone is going to build another convention center then great, so that’s why it’s important to manage things properly based on what makes sense.
“If there was overdevelopment, our beautiful environment and roads would be crowded again and we would lose what is a big piece of our advantage of our destination. It has to be managed well.”
Under the Clark Freeport Zone’s unique regulatory model, national gaming regulator PAGCOR is still responsible for issuing gaming licenses to casino operators, however the CDC issues all other approvals around development and construction planning.