The Philippines Court of Appeals has upheld a previous ruling by Manila’s Regional Trial Court compelling gaming regulator PAGCOR to issue a provisional casino license to Waterfront Philippines Inc to operate a casino-hotel in Entertainment City.
The latest ruling by CA follows a decade-long standoff between the two parties after Waterfront filed an application to develop the Grand Waterfront Hotel and Casino and deposited US$100 million in cash as per PAGCOR’s stipulated requirements. Despite fulfilling all of those requirements, Waterfront filed a petition in 2015 accusing PAGCOR of ignoring its application.
The Regional Trial Court subsequently ruled in Waterfront’s favor in August 2017, ordering the regulator to act on its license application.
On Monday that ruling was supported by the Court of Appeals, which stated, “Considering that no additional documents were further required to be submitted, Waterfront is deemed to have completed the requirements for its project application, which warranted the review and evaluation thereof.”
As reported by local news outlet Rappler, the Court of Appeals also declared that PAGCOR must pay Waterfront Php100,000 in moral damages and Php100,000 in exemplary damages.
The ruling could see Entertainment City welcome a fifth operator after all following President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent proclamation that Landing International Development Ltd would not be permitted to build a planned US$1.5 million IR despite having been granted a provisional casino license.
There are currently three IRs in the designated gaming zone – Solaire Resort and Casino, City of Dreams Manila and Okada Manila – with Travellers International Hotel Group in the final planning stages to develop a fourth, Westside City Resorts World.
According to the Court of Appeals, Waterfront’s license would be “similar to those granted to Resorts World Manila, City of Dreams, Solaire Resort and Casino and Okada Manila.”