SBMA orders casino shutdown over income row
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT, Philippines—The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) last Monday ordered the closure of a casino here for refusing to heed freeport rules on revenue-sharing arrangement.
Frontier Wish International Ltd. (FWIL), operator of the Oriental Paradise Casino, was slapped with a cease-and-desist order (CDO) by SBMA chair Roberto Garcia.
In a letter last Monday to Alexander Betita Jr., chief operating officer of FWIL, Garcia said the SBMA was constrained to issue the CDO because FWIL allegedly ignored the agency’s reminders on its unfulfilled obligations.
The company has yet to issue a statement regarding the closure order, which would lapse once FWIL complies with SBMA’s conditions.
Garcia’s letter refers to a series of negotiations with FWIL over a counter-offer which SBMA had recently turned down.
The letter did not specify what FWIL owed SBMA or what it was offering to settle the issue, but Garcia cited an SBMA board resolution which states that casinos being operated by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) should remit 3 percent of the gross casino winnings as SBMA’s share.
Garcia said the agency’s conditions apply to all freeport locators engaged in casino operations.
“Our consent can only be given within the bounds of this reasonable and sound regulation of casino operations within the [freeport],” he said in the letter.
According to Kenneth Rementilla, manager of the SBMA Business and Investment Department for Leisure, FWIL started operating the casino in July 2012 when it took over from a previous operator. RAM
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.