Quezon City Mayor Bans Government Employees From Solaire North Casino

Posted on: May 22, 2024, 01:07h. 

Last updated on: May 21, 2024, 11:49h.

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte on Monday announced her decision to exclude all city employees from accessing the soon-to-be-opened Solaire Resort North casino.

Quezon City Solaire North Bloomberry
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte is prohibiting all city employees from accessing Bloomberry Resorts’ forthcoming Solaire Resort North casino. Belmonte said this week her administration has worked with Bloomberry in devising a security element to assure that casino games aren’t afforded to local government workers. (Image: The Manila Times)

Bloomberry Resorts invested $1 billion in expanding its Manila gaming footprint with a second integrated resort located just north of the Philippines capital metro in Quezon City. Solaire Resort North complements Bloomberry’s Solaire Resort in Manila’s Entertainment City.

Solaire North plans to open a 38-story hotel and four-story casino later this month featuring nearly 2,700 slot machines and 163 live dealer table games. Bloomberry is betting big on attracting the northern area’s VIPs and affluent customers by providing them a closer-to-home gaming option than traveling south to Entertainment City where, in addition to Solaire, Resorts World, City of Dreams, and Okada casinos operate.

Solaire Resort North is to officially open this Saturday, May 25.

City Workers Banned 

Solaire North’s possible customer base diminished this week when Belmonte revealed her administration has worked with Bloomberry in creating a program to prohibit local government employees from accessing the casino. While Quezon City workers will be allowed to access the resort’s other amenities such as its hotel, restaurants, bars, and non-gaming entertainment, no gambling is to be allowed.

Belmonte says Solaire North has created an electronic databank consisting of photographs of all 19K city employees that will be used to assist casino security in preventing access to excluded persons.

Even if one wears a wig, mask, or hat, one’s face can still be detected using a very sophisticated system,” Belmonte said during the 1st International Conference on Responsible Gambling and Gambling Addiction. The event was held at the Novotel Araneta in Quezon City.

Unlike some other countries in Asia that restrict or limit residents from accessing casinos in favor of reserving the gaming floors for foreigners, the Philippines does not. Gambling and games of chance are deeply rooted in Filipino culture, but there are concerns that the country’s expanding legal gaming industry could result in higher instances of problem gambling.

The conference where Belmonte made her remarks about the city worker exclusion from Solaire North’s casino focused on bringing together industry stakeholders, lawmakers, behavioral health experts, and the public in devising better responsible gaming safeguards. The conference was sponsored by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), which regulates commercial casinos and runs its government-owned gaming properties under the Casino Filipino brand. 

Blooming Business

Along with Solaire Entertainment City and its forthcoming Solaire North, Bloomberry owns and operates Jeju Sun Hotel & Casino in South Korea. The Philippines-based gaming company in February announced it was shopping its Korean holding, though the firm said no sale of the boutique casino and hotel is imminent.

Gaming analysts believe Solaire North will account for around 9% of Bloomberry’s 2024 gross gaming revenue (GGR) and upwards of 14% in 2025 when the casino is open for the entire year.  

Bloomberry is controlled by Filipino billionaire Enrique Razon Jr., the global port and shipping magnate behind International Container Terminal Services. Forbes estimates Razon’s net worth to be around $10.5 billion.