The Philippines is lifting its declared January 2018 moratorium on new casinos, and will accept new casino licence applicants, said the head of the country’s gaming regulator, Andrea Domingo (pictured in a file photo), as cited on Friday by media outlets in that nation.
“The President [Rodrigo Duterte] issued the moratorium in 2018… now that he has lifted it, so we can once again receive applications for casino licences,” Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) chairperson Ms Domingo was reported as saying by one of the outlets – CNN Philippines.
Ms Domingo clarified however that no further casinos would be permitted in the Entertainment City zone in Metro Manila, other than projects already in development. She added that Clark Freeport Zone, on the main island Luzon, had not been covered by the original ban on expansion of the sector.
The gaming regulator had in any case previously pushed for lifting of the moratorium.
The Philippines President mentioned in a public address on Thursday that he would encourage casino development on popular holiday island of Boracay, a shift from his previous declared stance against such projects there.
Local media reports cited Mr Duterte apologising his Thursday address for that policy reversal, and saying that allowing casino gambling could help the nation, as his government needed fresh sources of money.
In late June, Philippine media reported that the terms of reference in an approved bill for a planned Boracay Island Development Authority envisaged the possibility of gaming, amusement and recreational facilities operating on the holiday island.
GGRAsia has approached Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd, asking for its comment on the lifting of the ban on casinos for Boracay.
The company had previously been announced as partner with Philippine group Leisure and Resorts World Corp, on a proposed scheme there.
In late 2019, Leisure and Resorts World said it was abandoning plans for a US$500-million casino investment on Boracay.
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