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PAGCOR approves Manila’s integrated resorts to accept bets online

Philippines gaming regulator PAGCOR has granted permission for Manila’s integrated resorts to accept bets online in a move aimed at helping operators recoup COVID-19 induced losses.

According to a report by Bloomberg, PAGCOR President and COO Alfredo Lim confirmed via text message that recently received applications from City of Dreams Manila, Okada Manila, Resorts World Manila and Solaire Resort and Casino to take online bets have now been approved.

No detail was provided on exactly what such online betting might look like or what restrictions would remain in place.

However, Bloomberg quoted Richard Lanela, an analyst at COL Financial Group Inc, who said this latest provision would allow Manila’s IRs to “survive and get through the pandemic until they are allowed by government to fully operate. This is a way for them to earn some revenue.”

Having closed their doors on 15 March as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the Philippines, Manila’s casinos were finally granted permission to resume operations in August but only at 30% capacity.

Operators had previously reported significant losses in the three months to 30 June 2020, including a US$96 million loss by Solaire and US$50 million losses by Okada Manila and City of Dreams Manila.

PAGCOR also revealed that the country’s casinos had suffered a combined 95.7% decline in revenue in the second quarter with GGR crawling to just Php2.27 billion (US$46.8 million) compared with Php52.30 billion (US$1.08 billion) over the same period in 2019.

The regulator had yet to reply to further inquires from Inside Asian Gaming at time of publication.

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