The Philippines Court of Appeals (CA) has for the second time upheld a 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 new ruling by CA follows a lengthy standoff between the two parties after Waterfront filed a 2008 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, with CA subsequently upholding that decision against a first PAGCOR appeal last year.
After PAGCOR launched a second appeal, CA last week affirmed its previous decision, stating in a 22 April ruling,“After carefully considering the grounds raised in the subject motion, we find that the said reasons and the arguments in support thereof have been amply treated, discussed and passed upon in the subject decision.
“The additional arguments proffered therein constitute no cogent or compelling reason to modify, much less reverse it.”
As reported by BusinessWorld, PAGCOR must also 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 August 2018 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 Entertainment City – Solaire Resort & Casino, City of Dreams Manila and Okada Manila – with Travellers International Hotel Group in the process of developing 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 & Casino and Okada Manila.”