Philippines gaming regulator PAGCOR has announced the suspension of all gaming operations in Manila, effective immediately.
The decision comes in the wake of President Rodrigo Duterte’s address to the nation on Thursday night in which he placed Metro Manila under community quarantine to prevent the further spread of the COVID-19.
The suspension applies to land-based casinos, both PAGCOR-owned and operated as well as all licensed and integrated resort-casinos, electronic game (eGames), bingo (traditional and electronic), sports betting, poker and slot machine clubs, and other activities regulated by PAGCOR.
All will remain closed for the duration of the National Capital Region (NCR) community quarantine imposed by the government, which is currently set to run until 14 April.
IAG understands casinos have been given until midnight tonight to close.
PAGCOR said the extreme measure was taken in order to support the government’s efforts in containing the virus, with the regulator opting to prohibit public gatherings in its gaming venues and in the licensed gaming properties that it regulates.
“This measure is intended to ensure the safety of both gaming employees and customers and eventually, the general public,” PAGCOR said.
Restaurants and food outlets are permitted to remain open, as are hotels attached to casinos and gaming facilities, although all are discouraged from hosting large functions or events.
The suspension doesn’t apply to the POGO (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators) industry, however PAGCOR said that only a minimum number of workers will be allowed in their workplaces with the remainder “restricted to their respective living quarters where they will observe social distancing and quarantine protocols.”
PAGCOR casinos located outside the National Capital Region remain open but will also see operations suspended in any instance where the local government declares community quarantine.