The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) had put out a request for proposal back in 2014 to open out a gambling facility at the historic Army Navy Club (ANC) complex in Manila. PAGCOR was looking to attract gaming developers who were interested in building a casino complex in the Bay area that would be big enough to compete with some of the major casinos located in Manila’s Entertainment City.

Vanderwood Management Corp, a casino developer was the only company to apply for the lease and as a result won the proposal and signed a 15 year contract with PAGCOR.  The Oceanville Hotel and Spa Corp has leased out the premises of the ANC and plans to build a heritage five star hotel that will offer upscale dining, fitness centers and wellness therapy. Oceanville has decided to sublease a total of 6,500 square meters located behind the ANC to Vanderwood who plan to use the lot to develop a new casino.

The five star hotel and the casino complex will be two separate entities as they are owned by different companies. The casino will be fenced off from the hotel property and is expected to be open to the public during the first half of 2017. Should everything go as per plan, the United States embassy located on Roxas Blvd could soon have a new casino as a nearby neighbour. The only building that will separate the US embassy and the casino will be the Museo Pambata.

PAGCOR’s approval for a five star hotel and a casino to be built at the historic ANC club in Manila has created a lot of controversy and caused them to receive a lot of flak on social media. The Museo Pambata is a special library museum for children and a number of locals believe that building a casino next to the museum violates state law.

However lawyers have pointed out that state law prohibits gaming establishments and nightclubs from operating within 50 meters of a church, hospital or school but does not mention a museum. It will be up to the court in Manila to decide if the proposed casino will be breaching this law.

While PAGCOR has given permission for both the five star property and the casino to proceed, Erap Estrada, the Mayor of Manila stated that he had not approved any casino permit to Vanderwood to run a casino at the ANC. In a statement, Estrada said “Pagcor is not under us. We did not give them permit to operate a casino in the area. If there is a violation, we will not issue a permit.”

The Mayor has asked legal officer and city secretary Edward Serapio to check and see if there were any violations when the site was leased from PAGCOR.