Three Philippine-listed investors in major Manila casino resorts said in respective filings on Monday they expected their business would be negatively affected by the national gaming regulator’s decision at the weekend to suspend for a month casino-floor operations in Metro Manila with effect from no later than midnight on Sunday. A fourth operator said it was also closing a large non-gaming facility.
The nation’s government had separately put the whole of Metro Manila – also known as the National Capital Region – into quarantine with effect from Sunday, in an attempt to stop the transmission of a novel coronavirus first reported in China, and which has now spread around the globe. Such lockdown is effective until April 14, subject to daily review.
The country’s Department of Health said that as of Sunday the nation had reported 140 cases of Covid-19, the associated illness, and 12 deaths as a result.
“Premium Leisure Corp’s gaming revenue from City of Dreams Manila may stall, as the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp [Pagcor] suspended all casino operations from 16th March 2020 to 14th April 2020,” noted Belle Corp in its Monday filing regarding a unit of the group.
Premium Leisure is an investor in City of Dreams Manila, where gaming is operated by a unit of casino group Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd. The latter firm also has operations in Macau and the Republic of Cyprus.
In a press release carrying Sunday’s date, Kevin Benning, City of Dreams Manila chief operating officer, was quoted as saying “extraordinary times” called for “extraordinary measures”.
Mr Benning added: “We rally behind President Rodrigo Duterte in the actions he has implemented to curb the spread of the coronavirus, and we fully support Pagcor under the leadership of Chairman Andrea Domingo in its order to temporarily suspend gaming operations in the best interest of all.”
According to Pagcor’s Sunday statement, restaurants and food outlets at Manila casino resorts had been – as of that time – allowed remain open.
But in a Tuesday statement City of Dreams Manila said: “All restaurants and guest facilities on property will also temporarily suspend operations effective March 18, in adherence with the enhanced community quarantine guidelines in Metro Manila and Luzon.”
Solaire, Okada Manila
Bloomberry Resorts Corp, promoter of the Solaire Resort and Casino in Manila, stated in its Monday filing – referring to previously-announced bans on inbound travel to the Philippines from certain areas affected by coronavirus: “Travel bans and risk of Covid-19 infection will reduce and adversely affect the volume of people coming to the Philippines and Metro Manila from China and other countries or areas which in turn will adversely affect the business of Bloomberry Resorts.”
The management of the Okada Manila resort, a venue operated by Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc, said that in addition to shutting the casino, it had decided to close – from March 13 to March 31 – its non-gaming facilities The Fountain, and its nightclub, Cove Manila. The management said the move was “in support of the Philippine government’s directive to help prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus”. Okada Manila is ultimately controlled by Japan’s Universal Entertainment Corp.
The Okada Manila management added however: “While The Fountain shows are postponed and Cove Manila is closed for the time being,” all non-gaming operations in the property including the hotel were “ongoing” and everyone was “welcome to enjoy” the other attractions in the resort.
For access to those non-gaming facilities remaining open at Okada Manila, customers would be asked to undergo thermal scanning at property entry points, and there would be “round-the-clock sanitation across the premises,” as well as a “dedicated team of emergency medical personnel and vehicles on standby”.
Regarding the closure of the Okada Manila casino, revenue was “expected to decrease due to the suspension order,” said a Monday filing to Jasdaq by Universal Entertainment.
The firm added that “cutting … various expenses including personnel expenses” was a “plan to be executed”. The company further noted it was “looking closely” into what impact “this matter” would have on its consolidated business results for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2020.
Resorts World Manila, Waterfront Philippines
Alliance Global Group Inc is an investor – alongside Genting Hong Kong Ltd – in Travellers International Hotel Group Inc, the operator of the Resorts World Manila casino complex. Alliance Global said in its Monday filing on the Manila casino closure topic, that the parent business “anticipates that measures undertaken to contain the transmission of Covid-19 virus will impact various business segments of the group operating in Metro Manila and other areas implementing community quarantine”.
Meanwhile Belle Corp had added in its filing: “Operations of Pacific Online Systems Corporation (POSC), being the lessor of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office’s (PCSO) online lottery equipment, will continue.”
It further stated: “However, with POSC’s revenues dependent on PCSO’s lotto sales, the business may be impacted by Covid-19 virus-related developments and the implementation of community quarantines.”
Philippine casino operator Waterfront Philippines Inc said in its Monday filing that it had “experienced a big hit on the cancellation of bookings and slowdown of sales”. The company said it expected its revenues to be strained “not only during these months,” but was also “forecasting the decrease to continue towards the end of the year”.
Waterfront Philippines runs several casino properties in the Philippines, although its venue in the capital city is currently closed as a fire engulfed the 22-storey, 509-room property located in the heart of Manila’s tourist district. That property is currently under renovation, according to previous company filings.
(Updated 10.42am, March 18)
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