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Philippines' Belle Grande casino to open in 2014.

March 18, 2013 at 7:26 AM

MANILA, March 18 (UPI) -- The Philippines' $1.3 billion Belle Grande Manila Bay casino and entertainment complex is expected to open in the middle of next year, a company official said.

Willy Ocier, vice chairman of SM Investments leisure firm Belle Corp., said the facility would be operating by "probably June or July, mid-2014," the Philippine Star reported.

"It is not just a casino but a whole lot of entertainment, all in support of the tourism industry in the Philippines," Ocier said.

The complex, in the 120-acre Entertainment City in Manila Bay, will reportedly have 920 hotel rooms.

SM Investments is the Philippines' largest shopping mall developer and operator. It has 46 malls nationwide.

The casino-entertainment complex is a partnership with Macau casino giant Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd.

The Star said the government is setting up the Entertainment City to compete with other major gaming hubs.

Melco will operate the Belle Grande.

"We are catering to the middle-income foreigners in the region. Our thrust is to get more tourists in the Philippines," Ocier said.

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