Licensed casinos in four places in the Philippines that are well away from Metro Manila have been allowed to reopen after sufficient easing locally of the lockdown rules designed to stem the national spread of Covid-19.
The news was confirmed to GGRAsia in an email from a spokesperson for the country’s regulator the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), in response to our enquiry.
The four places that have been allowed to resume casino operations are Bacolor city on Negros Island in Western Visayas; Iloilo city at the southeastern tip of the island of Panay; General Santos city on Mindanao island; and the province of Ilocos Norte at the northern end of the country’s main island Luzon.
Casinos there “resumed operations – 50 percent of operations only – June 8,” said the person. The email did not clarify how many venues were allowed to resume, or whether they were public-sector properties or private-sector ones. Pagcor is an operator in its own right of venues under the Casino Filipino brand as well as a licensor gaming venues run by private-sector companies.
Casino complexes in the Metro Manila area, including the large-scale private sector sites of City of Dreams Manila, Okada Manila, Resorts World Manila and Solaire Resort and Casino, were shut down in mid-March. They remain so, due to a general community quarantine currently in place in Metro Manila and due to run at least until June 30.
The Pagcor spokesperson noted: “The opening of our properties is dependent upon the classification per region of the national government.”
The person added: “These classifications are based on the prevalence of Covid[-19] cases in a particular region. We can only resume operations in regions declared or categorised under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).”
The Metro Manila resorts were doing “dry runs in their respective properties” ahead of the reopenings.
The Pagcor spokesperson said the test runs at Manila resorts were in order to “ascertain and address the technical issues expected after three months of closure; to strengthen internal processes, systems and procedures; and to ensure strict compliance with physical distancing as well as stringent health and safety protocols.”
This was in order to “preclude the possible transmission of the… virus [responsible for Covid-19] in our operations,” the person added.
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