The head of the Philippine casino regulator reportedly said in an online forum that three integrated resorts (IRs) in Manila had “started” online play for table games and slots.
The comments of Andrea Domingo (pictured in a file photo), the boss of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), reported by the Philippine Star newspaper, didn’t clarify if those games were purely digital or whether live streaming of live-dealer table games was involved, or whether such play was available only to domestic players or to overseas ones.
But it did directly quote her as saying Solaire Resort and Casino, run by Bloomberry Resorts Corp; Resorts World Manila, run by Travellers International Hotel Group Ltd; and Okada Manila, run by a unit of Japan’s Universal Entertainment Corp, were all running “online table games and slot machines”.
Ms Domingo added: “It’s all limited because we need to regulate them.”
She reportedly further stated: “Not just anyone can play because of non-proliferation and responsible gaming.”
At another online forum in December, Ms Domingo had said that three major Manila casino resorts: Solaire; Okada Manila; and City of Dreams Manila, operated by a unit of Asian operator Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd, all had been approved to offer online gaming to domestic players via their premises using a new “PIGO”, or Philippine Inland Gaming Operator, licence.
Mainland China has said that any jurisdictions it perceives as targeting its own residents for “cross-border gambling” could risk being blacklisted as tourism destinations.
On April 26, Japanese gaming conglomerate Universal Entertainment said in a statement that Okada Manila had been authorised by the local regulator to provide online gaming services.
Ms Domingo was cited as saying in her online forum comments, that Pagcor was lobbying President Rodrigo Duterte for the right to allow the partial reopening of casinos in places including the National Capital Region.
In Metro Manila, encompassing Entertainment City, a modified enhanced community quarantine has been extended to May 14, and that has coincided with a temporary shuttering of casinos there.
Ms Domingo said that closures of casinos, and of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) – a situation that has applied on and off since since last year – had caused a huge drop of revenues for the gaming regulator.
Pagcor recently reported that its first-quarter net income had fallen about 80 percent year-on-year as its gaming revenue halved.
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