Resorts World Manila Ready to Reopen, Without Casino Gambling for Now

Posted on: June 14, 2017, 04:44h. 

Last updated on: June 14, 2017, 04:47h.

Resorts World Manila is beginning the process of reopening to the public, after a disgruntled gambling addict torched the casino floor and a hotel room on June 2, leading to 37 deaths.

Resorts World Manila memorial
Mourners lay flowers at a makeshift memorial outside the Resorts World Manila casino complex, where Philippine politicians are seeking answers as to how the tragedy was allowed to happen. (Image: AP)

The operator of the casino and hotel resort in the Philippine capital announced that the entertainment areas of the property will resume operations on June 15, including a shopping mall, movie theater, and a 1,500-seat performing arts center.

On Friday, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) suspended the casino’s gaming license indefinitely, pending further investigation into safety lapses and security protocols in the casino area.

Casino Still Closed

PAGCOR had reviewed security footage of the June 2 incident when Jesse Javier Carlos entered the casino with an automatic weapon and two-liter bottle of gasoline. He sprayed bullets into banks of empty slot machines and gasoline on the gaming tables, which he then lit on fire. Closed circuit television footage is helping investigators identify security vulnerabilities that made the deadly rampage possible.

“With the suspension, Resorts World Manila must cease and desist all gaming operations while investigation on its liability regarding the June 2 incident is ongoing,” a PAGCOR spokesman said in a statement.

“The said suspension will remain until Resorts World Manila rectifies its serious security lapses and deficiencies – which caused not only the loss of lives and damaged properties – but also placed the Philippine gaming, tourism and hospitality industries in bad light.”

Pointing Fingers

Meanwhile a multi-committee hearing of lawmakers is calling for an investigation into what negative effects the tragedy could have on tourism to the Philippines.

Prior to the attack, the Philippines had experienced a 200 percent surge in visa applications by Chinese citizens in 2016 compared to 2015, and had seen that growth continue in January and February of 2017, where there was a 25.4 percent increase in Chinese visitors year over year.

In general, the Philippines had been making great strides in recent years to establish itself as a regional tourism hotspot. The expansion of fully integrated casino resorts had much to do with that new position for the Philippines as a premier entertainment destination.

Some members of the Philippine government have suggested criminal charges would be appropriate for executives of Resorts World Manila, for their negligence in guest safety. 

More certain is litigation that is being pursued from the families of victims who perished. The 36 casino guests and employees died from smoke inhalation, and blame the casino for not having a proper sprinkler system or evacuation plan in place, as well as the lax security.