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Manila casinos granted permission to open at 30% capacity

Some Manila casinos, including those within Entertainment City’s integrated resorts, have been granted permission to resume operations at 30% capacity.

While there has been no official announcement by Philippines gaming regulator PAGCOR, Melco International Development Ltd – the parent company of City of Dreams Manila operator Melco Resorts – revealed in its 1H20 results announcement on Friday that it was “preparing for the resumption of its normal operations in accordance with the terms and conditions of this new guideline.”

Melco said it had received the directive on 24 August allowing PAGCOR-licensed casinos in areas covered by General Community Quarantine to operate at 30% operational capacity.

PAGCOR said the 30% rule was an expansion of a recent “trial run” opportunity granted to IRs.

“Integrated resorts and casinos which obtained permits from their respective local governments are allowed to open on trial run under the strictest health and safety protocols,” the regulator explained.

“Those located in areas under lockdown or enhanced community quarantine may not open. Operations are limited to a maximum of 30% capacity.”

PAGCOR added that the operations of individual casinos across the city may vary from day to day depending on the current local situation.

However, other Manila integrated resort operators confirmed they had been granted permission to reopen pending certain safety measures. The directive is effective immediately although operators IAG spoke to said they would need some time to ramp up operations.

While Manila casinos have been officially closed since 15 March, operators had previously been granted permission by PAGCOR to run some limited “dry run” gaming operations.

“In anticipation of the declaration of a more relaxed General Community Quarantine, gaming machines, processes, digital applications (old and new) and other operational systems are being tested,” PAGCOR told IAG in July.

In its 2Q20 results announcement earlier this month, Solaire stated that, “Such dry run operations, which involve only in-house and select invited guests, are a means for Solaire to fine-tune its services in accordance with new normal health and safety protocols.”

The second quarter results for Manila’s IR operators included losses of US$96.2 million for Solaire, US$75.9 million for Resorts World Manila, US$49.9 million for Okada Manila and US$49.4 million for City of Dreams Manila.

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