Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte has promised to challenge Philippines gaming regulator PAGCOR in court over the city’s planned implementation of a gambling regulatory ordinance that would include an entrance fee for locals.
The ordinance and entry fee form part of the local government’s efforts to limit access to Bloomberry Resorts’ second Solaire-branded Philippines integrated resort, to be built on 1.57 hectares of Quezon City land from mid-2019.
Speaking with the Philippines Inquirer, Belmonte revealed that PAGCOR chair Andrea Domingo had threatened to block the implementation of any such restrictions by seeking a temporary restraining order in court, citing a Presidential decree as giving the regulator exclusive rights.
“I welcome [the restraining order] so the courts can decide whether it’s the PAGCOR charter or Local Government Code that has precedence,” Belmonte said.
“Since the argument is it should be for tourism, it should cater only to tourists. We’ll really make it hard for Quezon City residents to go [inside] the casino.”
Sureste Properties – the operating entity of Solaire Resort and Casino in Manila’s Entertainment City precinct – purchased the land for its Quezon City IR in 2015 for Php1.98 billion (US$38 million).
Bloomberry Chairman and CEO Enrique Razon Jr revealed last year that the Quezon City resort could boast the same total floor space for casino operations as Solaire despite the smaller land size, with the building expected to be more vertical.
Last month Bloomberry also secured a Php40 billion (US$767 million) loan to fund the design, construction and development of its Quezon City resort, scheduled to open in 2022.