Pagcor places halt on new casino applications

Philippine’s gaming regulator has placed a moratorium on new casinos after orders from president Rodrigo Duterte last month, the Inquirer reports.

Speaking to reporters, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. chair Andrea Domingo said the moratorium came into effect on January 11 - meaning only firms which submitted applications before that time would be considered for approval.

“The President told me last January 11 to freeze the entry of new casinos because there are already many of them, and there are more wanting to apply,” said Andrea during the ICE Totally Gaming show in London.

“But we’re just processing now the applications we received before the President ordered the moratorium,” she said.

Domingo said that the president was concerned about the “proliferation” of casinos in the country. “After that, as of January 13, we’ve stopped accepting applications.”

There are currently four Pagcor-approved casinos in Entertainment City, including Solaire Resort & Casino, Okada Manila, Resorts World Manila and City of Dreams Manila.

Domingo said there were three new casino licensees in Cebu, including Emerald casino from Dennis Uy, Millenium casino by the Hong Kong-based Asian Gaming Group and the Universal casino by the Gokongwei Group.

There are another eight operations in Clark, Pampanga, and another Pagcor approved licensee on Boracay Island.

Domingo said that the board board is now drafting a memo to detail the moratorium order by President Duterte.

“We’re stopping [license issuances] and we’ll let the market mature first,” she said.

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