A new gaming jurisdiction has cropped up in the northern Phillippines state of Luzon, 30 minutes by plane from Manila.
APECO Zone Jurisdiction
The 12,500-hectare Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority (APECO) will be based in the town of Casiguran, Aurora (pop. 20,000), 270 kilometers from the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA). CEZA is the home of First Cagayan Leisure and Resort Corporation, the zone´s designated “master licensor.”
First Cagayan is part of a greater umbrella group, the designated master licensor for the next 25 years: Pacific Seaboard Leisure and Entertainment Corporation will conduct application screening as well as provide technology and consulting support to APECO.
Pacific Seaboard´s gaming license awaits final approval from state regulator Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). The same approval is required for any individual licenses granted by Pacific Seaboard as well.
The annual operating fee APECO plans to charge will be US$40,000 per interactive online gaming license. The payment is applicable to all operating fees, including for specific operations such as internet casinos or live dealer table games.
The higher of a “gaming levy” of 2% of their monthly gross win or US$5,000 per table each month will also be charged. APECO adds that the fee structure is accompanied by an “income tax holiday” of 4-8 years.
Two memorandums of understanding have already been signed for projects in the zone. The first is with an Australian company for “an eco-tourism destination with a gaming component,” the second with a group from Chinese.
Further talks with investors in Macau and Hong Kong are ongoing, says APECO, the Phillippines Parliament gaming licensing authority since 2010.
Land-based operators have already indicated interest in setting up hotels and casinos in the economic zone, which APECO President and CEO Israel Maducdoc disclosed as “part of the (aforementioned) ecotourism project.”
The minimum investment for new land-based resorts has been set at $300 million.
We will keep you updated with further details and developments about this new opportunity as soon as they emerge.