Dowinn Group, a significant junket operator in the Philippines, has postponed its previously scheduled reopening to July 19, missing the anticipated resumption on Monday, June 24, at 2 PM. This update, reported by the Korean news portal Daum and quoted by Asia Gaming Brief, has intensified industry suspicions and rumors of potential collapse.

Operations at Dowinn Group’s facilities, including prominent casinos such as Solaire, Okada Manila, City of Dreams Manila, Clark D’Heights Resort & Casino, and Royce Hotel & Casino, ceased on the evening of June 17, 2024. Despite an initial announcement to restart operations on June 24, the reopening was deferred. A notice sent to clients via WhatsApp indicated that the reopening would be delayed by approximately 25 days.

Previously, Dowinn Group had assured PAGCOR, the gaming regulator in the country, that the cessation was temporary and emergency in nature, dismissing any notions of a permanent shutdown. On June 21, the Philippine gaming regulator PAGCOR clarified its stance, stating it has no direct relationship with the troubled Dowinn Group’s junket operations. PAGCOR confirmed it had been informed by Dowinn Group about the temporary cessation of operations at GoldwinnPhil Inc. in Dowinn Casino Heritage. This move was described as being “for the protection of their players and employees.” PAGCOR emphasized that Dowinn had promised to resume operations on June 24 but reiterated it has “no direct relationship with Dowinn” concerning its junket operations, which are agreements made directly between Dowinn and PAGCOR licensees.

The Korean media outlet’s report highlighted the confusion among numerous customers and foreign exchange dealers who had deposited funds with Dowinn, sparking bankruptcy speculations and rumors about management fleeing abroad. Dowinn Group reportedly employs over 700 staff from Korea, China, and the Philippines.

Growing Skepticism

An unnamed investor expressed skepticism in the Korean report, stating: “The industry has nearly lost faith in Dowinn’s reopening, and the rescheduling of the opening date has severely undermined market and customer trust.” Dowinn’s operations heavily target Korean VIP customers, leading to significant impacts on many Korean patrons and foreign exchange dealers who had invested funds. Additionally, in Seoul, numerous individuals ventured into multi-level investment schemes, leveraging convenient apps for deposits and withdrawals to benefit from high returns from Philippine casino investments.

A report from the same Korean media outlet last week included insights from an insider who noted, “Dowinn has developed a more user-friendly app compared to other junket operators, earning praise from local currency exchange dealers, although these dealers are expected to face losses due to a large-scale withdrawal situation. Consequently, Dowinn’s junket rooms in Clark and Manila are effectively closed.”

Further complicating matters, Korea’s Kangwon Land signed a contract in March this year to export 30 slot machines to Dowinn. Although Kangwon Land received a down payment, the machines have not been exported due to delays in receiving the remaining balance.

The delay and ongoing uncertainty have placed Dowinn Group under intense scrutiny, with stakeholders eagerly awaiting clarity on the company’s future operations and financial stability. The situation remains dynamic, with significant implications for the industry and affected parties.