Manila’s casino and gaming operators have warned of significant losses, development delays and lingering effects on revenue following Sunday’s revelation by Philippines gaming regulator PAGCOR that all gaming operations in the National Capital Region (NCR) had been ordered to close for a month.
The order, which is an extension of President Rodrigo Duterte’s community quarantine initiative aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus, saw Manila’s four integrated resorts all shut their doors on Sunday night, alongside PAGCOR-owned casinos and all electronic games (eGames), bingo (traditional and electronic), sports betting, poker and slot machine clubs located in the NCR.
Belle Corporation, whose subsidiary Premium Leisure Corp holds an interest in City of Dreams Manila, said its share in revenue would stall as a result of the closure, while lottery sales via another subsidiary, Pacific Online Systems Corporation, may be impacted by the implementation of community quarantines.
Waterfront Philippines Inc, which operates the Waterfront Mactan Casino Hotel and Waterfront Cebu City Casino Hotel, said it had already suffered from cancelations and slower sales as a result of COVID-19, with room occupancy and revenue down by 55% on average, “translating to a weakened financial position necessitating the implementation of cost-saving measures.”
It added, “The imposition of further restrictions by the government will unfortunately result in significant losses in our books and will tremendously affect operations in months to come.”
PH Resorts Group warned that travel restrictions and community quarantines may affect development of its US$341 million Emerald Bay Resort and Casino in Cebu due to availability of construction workers and supplies. Operations of the boutique Donatela Hotel in Bohol could also be significantly affected with low occupancy expected.
Meanwhile, Solaire Resort & Casino operator Bloomberry Resorts said it had already implemented its own health and safety measures to combat the spread of the virus and would also comply with PAGCOR’s instructions. However, it added the “travel bans and risk of COVID-19 infection will reduce and adversely affect the volume of people coming to the Philippines and Metro Manila from China and other countries or areas, which in turn will adversely affect the business of Bloomberry.”
Nearby, Okada Manila said it was planning to cut various expenses, including personnel expenses, in response to an expected decrease in revenue.
The closure of Manila’s gaming operations will remain in place for the duration of the NCR community quarantine imposed by the government, which is currently set to run until 14 April.