The Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) is reviewing a proposal to allow land-based casinos to operate online gaming websites.
PAGCOR is the state-run gaming regulator that also owns and operates its own casinos under the Casino Filipino brand. It confirmed this week that it is considering allowing land-based casinos to move online.
PAGCOR revealed the proposal was submitted by an unnamed consortium of licensed commercial casinos.
The group presumably involves the four integrated resort operators that do business in Manila’s Entertainment City: Resorts World, City of Dreams, Okada, and Solaire. All four IRs have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated closures of their gaming floors.
Land-based casinos, whether they be the commercial casinos in Manila or Clark Freeport Zone, or PAGCOR’s Casino Filipino properties, are not permitted to conduct casino games on the internet. With international travel remaining largely halted by the coronavirus, Manila IRs are struggling.
During the lockdowns this year, proposals from operators of land-based properties to accept bets online from known patrons only were received by PAGCOR. Concerned departments are currently conducting studies related to the proposals,” PAGCOR confirmed, without giving further details.
“Known patrons” likely refers to the VIPs that are catered to by the integrated resort casinos.
Manila casinos were permitted to begin reopening on August 24 but at only 30 percent capacity. The Philippines government ordered them to shut from April through mid-August.
The financial damage has been large. In the second quarter, Solaire reported a loss of $96.2 million, Resorts World $75.9 million, Okada $49.9 million, and City of Dreams $49.4 million. Collectively, the four casino resorts lost more than a quarter of a billion dollars ($271.4 million).
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