In the Philippines, lawmakers are reportedly soon set to consider legislation that would institute a nation-wide casino entry fee amounting to about $60 in order to deter non-moneyed and indebted individuals from gambling.
According to a report from The Manila Times newspaper, the Friday proposal from Rodolfo Albano, a member of the Philippines House of Representatives, follows the June 2 shooting and arson attack on the Resorts World Manila complex that left 38 dead and 54 injured and would levy the charge on anyone entering casinos for the purposes of gambling.
“The bill seeks to strengthen regulation of the participation or engagement of citizens in casino gambling by ensuring that those who enter casinos and similar gaming establishments have the financial resources to engage in gambling,” Albano told the newspaper. “A casino entrance charge would serve as a deterrent to those who lack the resources or can ill afford to engage in gambling from entering a casino.”
The Manila Times reported that Albano’s proposal would also earmark all of the cash collected via the casino entry fees for the establishment and maintenance of youth welfare centers placed under the direct supervision of the nation’s Department of Social Welfare and Development. In addition, at least half of any proceeds collected from an individual casino would be set aside for such programs local to that venue.
The newspaper reported that Albano’s proposal came two days after a twelve-hour congressional hearing discovered that management at the Resorts World Manila had not had a crisis plan in place to deal with simultaneous emergencies such as those that arose on June 2 when the heavily-indebted Jessie Javier Carlos walked into the complex carrying an M4 rifle and a bottle of gasoline.
Gustavo Tambunting, Chairman for the Philippines House of Representative’s Games and Amusements Committee, had earlier reportedly explained that security personnel stationed within the Manila casino’s CCTV room had fled immediately after the now-deceased assailant began his assault.
“The decision of its personnel to abruptly abandon the CCTV room is very fatal,” Tambunting told The Manila Times. “The gunman went in at around 12:20pm and yet nobody was immediately around in that control room. They were so dependent on the second control room in the Remington Hotel. That is just unacceptable. They are supposed to be the eyes and ears on the ground and yet they were the first ones to flee. Had this not been the case, they would have immediately seen the gunman coming in armed from the elevator and security would have been able to pursue the gunman.”
The newspaper moreover reported that Oscar Albayalde, Director for the National Capital Region Police, told lawmakers that security personnel for the Resorts World Manila had delayed informing his office that there was a fully functioning second CCTV room in the nearby Remington Hotel. Legislators also allegedly heard that this two-hour dawdle had prevented law enforcement officials from quickly locating Carlos and rescuing trapped guests and casino employees.
“We have all seen the result of their actions,” Tambunting told The Manila Times. “Nobody told police that there was only one gunman.”