Star Cruises, Alliance team up on Philippine casinos

Hong Kong (Reuters) – Star Cruises plans to team up with the Alliance Global Group Inc to develop hotels and casinos in the Philippines, in a deal that will see the cruise and gaming operator pay USD 335 million for half of an Alliance unit.

Star Cruises will buy half of Travellers International Hotel Group Inc, which has applied for a provisional gaming licence, with an eye to developing hotel and gambling resorts at Manila Bay and near the airport.

Multinationals from the Las Vegas Sands to MGM Mirage are investing billions in Asian casino projects, particularly in the former Portuguese enclave of Macau, hoping to draw Chinese tourists — one of the world’s biggest-spending.

Macau’s boom — since the Chinese territory scrapped a decades-old monopoly on gambling and opened to foreign investment, it has overtaken Las Vegas in annual gambling revenues — has inspired Singapore to abolish its own casino ban.

Asian gaming operators such as Star Cruises are keen not to be left behind.

Star Cruises and sister company Genting International, both units of Malaysian casino operator Genting Bhd, won in 2005 the right to build and operate Singapore’s second casino resort.

The firm and would-be partner Alliance, a major Philippine food and beverage conglomerate, have also entered into an agreement to build, own and operate a hotel and casino complex to be located in the Philippines‘ Newport City, adjacent to Manila’s airport.

In addition, Star Cruises plans to form a joint venture with Travellers — of which Star plans to own 40 percent — to develop another project in Pagcor City, which is nestled up against Manila Bay.