Okada Manila gets nod for online gaming operations

Okada-Manila

Tiger Resort and Leisure Entertainment Inc (TRLEI), the operating company behind Entertainment City’s Okada Manila has received a letter from PAGCOR approving the company to enter into online gaming as of April 19, 2021, according to a filing from its parent company. 

Approval was given by the board of directors of PAGCOR in a meeting held on April 15, which approves TRLEI’s entry into online gaming for table games and electronic gaming machines (EGM)s, making it the first of the four integrated resorts in Entertainment City to have an online offering. 

The launch of its online operations however will be subject to the clearing of various conditions, such as casino regulation compliance, test simulations, license fee payment, and anti-money laundering, and responsible gambling measures. 

Universal Entertainment in its filing said it considers online gaming as the first step, and will continue to develop the online sports betting industry using its proprietary technology. 

Last year, Asia Gaming Brief closely examined the Philippines’ opening up of the online gaming industry to land-based casinos through the “Life After POGOs” Special Dossier, along with a series of interviews and articles.

 At the time, iGaming experts were of the opinion that the Philippines’ decision to allow online gambling within its borders is a major step forward for igaming in Asia, but restrictions on operations mean it’s unlikely to be a game-changer, at least initially.

Speaking on the webinar, PAGCOR Chair Andrea Domingo, said the decision was motivated by rampant illegal gambling in the country.

At the time, Domingo said that licenses had already been issued to Bloomberry Resorts’ Solaire Resort and Casino in Manila and Okada Manila and City of Dreams Manila, as well as a casino operating in Subic Bay. Two further licenses have been granted to igaming platforms, with one to a unit of DFNN.

Under the rules, all land-based casinos in the country are eligible to apply for the license, but will only be able to accept bets from registered VIP players within the Philippines, which is the factor that industry observers said would limit the appeal of the new licenses the most. 

The new licenses will nevertheless present opportunities for land-based gaming suppliers.