Manila Casinos Start to Reopen

Some Manila casinos, including those in the Entertainment City economic zone, may resume operations at 30 percent capacity. Permission to do so was granted in late August by the state-run gaming regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR). Okada Manila (l.) confirmed it had reopened as of September 9.

Manila Casinos Start to Reopen

Last week, Manila casinos got the all-clear to reopen, albeit at 30 percent capacity. The directive came down August 24 from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR), the country’s state-run gaming regulator. Some casinos located in areas where the virus still is under “enhanced community quarantine” will not be able to reopen immediately. Manila itself is still under general community quarantine, which permits people to visit businesses.

Okada Manila confirmed it has reopened on September 9. Okada, along with Solaire Resort & Casino, Resorts World Manila and City of Dreams Manila have been running small trials for invited guests since July.

PAGCOR said that the 30 percent rule is an expansion of a recent “trial run” opportunity granted to integrated resorts in the Entertainment City casino district.

“Integrated resorts and casinos which obtained permits from their respective local governments are allowed to open on trial run under the strictest health and safety protocols,” the regulator explained.

“Those located in areas under lockdown or enhanced community quarantine may not open. Operations are limited to a maximum of 30 percent capacity.”

PAGCOR added that the operations of individual casinos across the city may vary from day to day depending on local health conditions.

Manila casinos have been officially closed since March 15, but operators had been granted permission to conduct limited “dry run” gaming operations.

In addition to the casinos, the hotels and restaurants are also permitted to reopen with the 30 percent restriction in place. The casinos are required to institute strict social distancing guidelines as well as public health measures.

Second-quarter results for Manila’s IR operators included losses of US$96.2 million for Solaire, US$75.9 million for Resorts World Manila, US$49.9 million for Okada Manila and US$49.4 million for City of Dreams Manila.

Lawrence Ho, chairman and chief executive of City of Dreams operator Melco International, said, “Despite the pandemic-derived travel bans, restrictions and quarantine requirements have adversely affected the performance of gaming revenues, we are excited to see some early signs of returning to normal operations in our integrated resorts.”