The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) says it will allow an “increase… in seating capacity” at poker tables in non-casino poker rooms it licenses. A Monday memo said that Pagcor’s health and safety standards had been amended in relation to poker-table games.
The regulator said the easing of seating capacity – no numbers were mentioned – was provided there was “strict compliance with the 1-metre distance between seats” as a precaution against the spreading of Covid-19; and on condition that there was “installation of acrylic walls or barriers in between seats”; as well as “mandatory wearing of face mask and face shield by all persons inside the club”.
The change was approved at a February 3 meeting of Pagcor’s board, according to Monday’s announcement.
The regulator added its compliance monitoring and enforcement department would make inspections to make sure rules were being followed.
Such “offsite” poker operators would be allowed to “refurbish, widen and/or customise their poker tables” in line with the rules, by methods including “assembling at maximum, two existing poker tables into one,” to form a larger poker table that would “count as one active table,” stated the memo.
In August, Pagcor had confirmed to GGRAsia that some casinos in that country had been cleared to reopen after temporary shutdown as a countermeasure to Covid-19, but “limited to a maximum of 30 percent capacity” and with strict health countermeasures against Covid-19.
On January 29 this year, the Philippine leader, President Rodrigo Duterte, approved the retention until February 28 of a general community quarantine for the National Capital Region, encompassing Metro Manila’s Entertainment City zone of private-sector casino resorts.
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”They want us to invest as well. The government there wants to see growth in Macau. We are not that concerned about that issue [licence renewal] at all”
Chairman and chief executive of Las Vegas Sands