Manila Casino Resorts Have Resumed Limited Gaming Operations

Posted on: May 28, 2021, 11:31h. 

Last updated on: May 28, 2021, 02:50h.

Manila casinos have reopened gaming operations in limited capacities. That’s according to the chief gaming regulator in the Philippines.

Manila casino Philippines COVID-19
The exterior of City of Dreams Manila is seen. The resort in the capital’s Entertainment City district has resumed casino gaming operations. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

The Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has confirmed that the four casino resorts in the capital city are once again operating. But in a statement to Asian-focused gaming media outlet GGRAsia, they are doing so “at limited capacity. 

City of Dreams, Solaire, Okada, and Resorts World all reopened earlier this month in a part of the government’s staycation program. Though the General Community Quarantine remains in Metro Manila, the casino resorts are allowed to operate their hotels. Their restaurants are permitted to operate at 25 percent for indoor capacity and 50 percent outdoors. 

Gaming was suspended on Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s orders in late March. The decision came amid a surge in new COVID-19 cases. But the Manila casinos were permitted to turn back on their slot machines and welcome table game guests as part of the staycation initiative. 

Manila Casinos Restricted

The four integrated casino resorts are being required by government orders to greatly limit activity in their casinos. 

Solaire says it is only accommodating casino gamblers who are staying overnight at the resort. Okada is only welcoming its rewards members “and avid gamers” to its casino.

City of Dreams says it’s limiting table games to three players, and slot machines continue to be spaced to allow for social distancing. Resorts World has not specified what sort of entry restrictions are in place.

There is no word from the government, PAGCOR, or the resorts as to when full-scale gaming operations might return. That includes when the general public might be welcomed back.

PAGCOR did give the four multibillion-dollar casino resorts a benefit amid the height of the coronavirus pandemic by way of online gaming. The four casinos are permitted to operate iGaming. But only its known VIPs who have frequented resorts in the past are able to gamble online.

In the first quarter of 2021, the four Manila casinos reported gross gaming revenue of PHP21.1 billion (US$442 million). The money includes gaming at the land-based casinos, as well as online from their high rollers. 

COVID-19 Numbers

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Philippines is finally on a better trajectory when it comes to new COVID-19 cases. 

In April, the Philippines were reporting around 70,000 new coronavirus cases each week. That dipped to 40,000 new cases for the week of May 17. COVID-19 accounted for more than 20,000 deaths.

Duterte, however, says the nation is far from where it needs to be. He threatened local government leaders and police officers with jail time if they do not enforce the community quarantine restrictions. Reports have recently surfaced of large indoor and outdoor gatherings across the country. 

The controversial leader says law enforcement officers should carry wooden sticks as a “permanent fixture” to use against offenders with “reasonable force.”