Only two days after ordering all of the casinos in metropolitan Manila to close and authorities in the Philippines have now reportedly extended this temporary shuttering to encompass gambling venues nationwide.
According to a report from Inside Asian Gaming, the move came only hours after Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte widened the scope of the month-long ‘community quarantine’ he had earlier placed around Manila to include the nation’s main island of Luzon. This step was purportedly instituted as a way to help stop residents from congregating and potentially spreading the highly-contagious coronavirus strain that has so far killed twelve locals.
Inside Asian Gaming reported that the nationwide shutdown is due to run until at least April 12 and will be overseen by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCor) regulator. In common with the Manila closure and it purportedly includes every one of the nation’s sportsbetting, electronic gaming, bingo and poker clubs while going a step further to embrace the offices of the 59 iGaming firm’s holding a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) license.
PAGCor reportedly proclaimed that this latest shuttering directive will impact ‘gaming activities nationwide’ including those located outside of metropolitan Manila and is to moreover be rolled out across every one of its own venues alongside all licensed ‘casino, bingo, sportsbetting, poker, slot machine and eGames’ entities.
First recorded in the Chinese city of Wuhan in early-December, the coronavirus strain is officially known as 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) and causes pneumonia-like symptoms such as high fevers and coughs. The ailment has to date killed approximately 7,500 people in 55 countries and was last week classified as a ‘global pandemic’ by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Inside Asian Gaming used a subsequent report to detail that the nationwide closure led Waterfront Philippines Incorporated, which is responsible for the Waterfront Cebu City Casino Hotel and the Waterfront Mactan Casino Hotel, to warn investors that it may now experience ‘a weakened financial position necessitating the implementation of cost-saving measures’. The Manila-listed casino firm purportedly pronounced that its room occupancy rates and revenues had recently plummeted by some 55% and that the heightened shutdown would ‘tremendously affect operations in months to come’ and lead to ‘significant losses on our books.’
Local casino giant PH Resorts Group Holdings Incorporated is similarly said to have advised stakeholders that the temporary shuttering will likely impede completion of the $341 million Emerald Hotel Resort and Casino it is building in Cebu and furthermore hurt business at its boutique Donatela Hotel property on the island of Bohol.