Manila Casinos Remain Closed Through May 15, as New Coronavirus Cases Escalate in Philippines
Posted on: April 26, 2020, 09:38h.
Last updated on: April 26, 2020, 01:49h.
Manila casinos in Entertainment City and throughout the Philippines capital will remain closed through at least May 15, as the coronavirus continues to spread.
The Philippines has 7,579 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Saturday. The respiratory disease has been blamed for 501 deaths in the country.
While many Asian countries have slowed the spread, or at least claimed to have done so, the Philippines continues to see an increase in the number of coronavirus patients.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says 211 new positive tests were confirmed in the Philippines within the past 24 hours. That trails only Singapore (897) and Japan (441) in the number of new patients in WHO’s Western Pacific Region, consisting of 15 countries. By comparison, China claims it had only 13 new COVID-19 positive test results over the last day.
Entertainment City is home to four integrated resort casinos – City of Dreams, Okada Manila, Solaire Resort, and Resorts World.
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte announced a strict lockdown on Manila in mid-March. The order included the closure of all nonessential business, as well as a nightly 8 p.m. curfew.
PAGCOR, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), suspended all of its casino operations. Now, no gaming will take place until May 16 at the earliest.
We are all at risk, but do not increase the odds or chances of getting it,” Rodrigo said last week, warning against complacency. “Be patient.”
Manila is a densely populated metro that is home to nearly 14 million people. The president is ready to impose martial law against those who violate his orders.
“I am now warning everybody and putting the armed forces and police on notice. I might declare martial law and there will be no turning back,” Rodrigo threatened.
When reached for comment by GGRAsia, Solaire spokespeople said regarding a potential reopening, “There are no exact dates and times yet. All our members will be notified once we are back in operations.”
The four commercial casino resorts aren’t being overly optimistic regarding that May 15 date.
City of Dreams is holding off on all reservations, as is Resorts World. The Solaire website is only offering reservations beginning June 1, rates starting at $201 ($245.35 with taxes). Okada Manila is accepting reservations for stays beginning Monday, May 18. Rates begin at $253.81 inclusive of taxes.
PAGCOR Chair Andrea Domingo suggested recently that it might make sense for casinos to reopen with only VIP table game operations. Her agency has already donated more than $118 million to the federal government to help fight the coronavirus, and says high rollers would allow PAGCOR to direct more taxes and money to slow the spread.
Domingo also said the government should consider allowing Filipinos to access online gambling sites. Currently, internet casinos based inside the country can only target offshore players.