The city council of Quezon City in the Philippines has passed a regulatory ordinance that would allow Bloomberry Resorts Corp to develop its proposed new casino resort but would set barriers against local residents using it, including a “high entrance fee”. The city council nonetheless expects the nation’s casino regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) to oppose that particular condition, reported the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper.
The news outlet cited Quezon City vice mayor Joy Belmonte, saying the city’s government had anticipated Pagcor would contest the implementation of the ordinance by seeking a “temporary restraining order”.
“I welcome [such a court order] so the courts can decide whether it’s the Pagcor charter or the local government code that has precedence,” Ms Belmonte was quoted as saying. The “charter” mentioned referred to Pagcor’s rights to formulate regulatory activities for gaming under the country’s Presidential Decree No.1869.
The regulatory ordinance passed by the city council included what the Philippine Inquirer – citing Ms Belmonte – stated was a “high entrance fees for locals” and the creation of a local gambling regulatory office. The ordinance was reportedly fashioned after regulatory measures adopted in Singapore’s casino duopoly market. Singaporean citizens or permanent residents have to pay either a daily entry levy of SGD100 (US$73.6) or an annual entry levy of SGD2,000 when entering either of the city-state’s casinos – Marina Bay Sands or Resorts World Sentosa.
The restrictions on locals accessing the proposed casino in Quezon City are based on a mandate that the city’s government should “look after the welfare” of its people, Ms Belmonte remarked to the Philippine Daily Inquirer. She expressed concerns about a possible surge in the number of local gamblers as and when Bloomberry Resorts’ proposed casino resort opened for business in Quezon City, a settlement on the outskirts of the Philippine capital Manila.
Bloomberry Resorts said last month that two of its subsidiaries had signed an agreement for a 10-year loan worth PHP40 billion (US$765.7 million), with the proceeds to be used “to partially finance the design, construction and development of an integrated hotel and gaming resort located at the Vertis North Complex in Quezon City, Metro Manila”. The new casino would reportedly carry the same “Solaire” branding as Bloomberry Resorts’ existing Metro Manila property, Solaire Resort and Casino at Entertainment City.
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