Pagcor shuts doors on new casino applicants
LONDON—Philippine gaming regulators have imposed a moratorium on new casino operations after President Duterte expressed concern about their proliferation.
In an interview with reporters, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) chair Andrea Domingo said only firms that submitted their applications before the President’s moratorium order to her last month—including a new casino in Clark, Pampanga, owned by Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy—would be considered for approval.
“The President told me last Jan. 11 to freeze the entry of new casinos because there are already many of them, and there are more wanting to apply,” the Pagcor chief said during the ICE Totally Gaming 2018 convention here.
“But we’re just processing now the applications we received before the President ordered the moratorium,” she said. “After that, as of Jan. 13, we’ve stopped accepting applications.”
At present, there are four Pagcor-approved casino licenses for firms located in the regulator’s Entertainment City complex in Parañaque City, three of which—Solaire Resort and Casino, City of Dreams Manila, and Okada Manila—are already operating. A fourth one by Resorts World Manila has yet to break ground for construction.
Domingo said there were also three new casino licensees in Cebu, namely Uy’s Emerald casino, Millennium casino of the Hong Kong-based Asian Gaming Group, and the recently approved Universal casino of the Gokongwei group.
There is another Pagcor-approved licensee setting up operations on Boracay Island, and eight operations in Clark, Pampanga, namely Mimosa, Midori, Donggwang, Widus, Clark Global and two others which are not operating.
“If those two open, there will be eight operators in Clark,” the Pagcor chief said. “I really think Clark can be like Las Vegas with the airport there and the planned high speed train to Manila.”
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