Manila Casinos Are Back To Square One As Governor Eases Grip

Image by Andrey Andreyev
Article by : Helen Sep 8, 2020

The threat level of new Covid-19 infections in the Philippines remains high. Metro Manila got their bearings after the government issued orders for a gradual transition to less stringent restrictive casino measures. Starting from August 24, the Melco gambling establishment received official permission to restart its business in a limited mode. This information was confirmed after the publication of interim reports by Melco International.

On August 19, 2020, the authorities allowed Metro Manila to switch to General Community Quarantine (GCQ). This allowed City of Dreams Manila to relaunch its business again and continue with the trial launch, which started in June 2020. After that, the government issued an official order that allowed licensed operators to reopen the casino’s doors.

Gambling establishments that faced the GCQ regime can launch their businesses. The number of visitors should be no more than 30% of the possible occupancy of the premises. Currently, the City of Dreams Manila is carrying out all the necessary preparatory work to restart its casino and return to an average work pace. It remains unclear why other gambling houses have not announced official permission to reopen. PAGCOR is also silent and does not give authorized information on this matter. Still, last week, Twitter accounts of many gaming operators began to publish information about a possible relaunch gradually.

Even if gambling establishments can only work at 30%, it will become a jolt of fresh air for them. For example, the popular gaming operator Solaire was able to earn over $200 million by working in a limited mode for two weeks. In any case, such earnings can have a very positive effect on the company’s activities during a stagnation.

Melco’s financial results also leave a lot to be desired. According to official figures, net revenue reached only $990 million. This figure is 65% less than in the same period last year.

The colossal decline in revenue happened because of the coronavirus’s consequences when the operator had to close casinos and hotel complexes. Moreover, tourists’ flow also dropped immediately after the increase in cases of new infections with Covid-19. Despite the decrease in restrictive measures and the gradual opening of businesses, casino operators will still need a long time to resume their previous performance. At the moment, the factors that would contribute to the casino’s early economic recovery simply do not exist.

Locals are well aware that the number of new infections continues to grow. Therefore, hardly anyone would dare to visit gambling establishments right after their opening massively. On the other hand, for some casinos, it is enough to focus exclusively on VIP guests. Income from VIP lounges can easily keep a casino afloat for a very long time.

The Philippines currently has over 220,000 cases of coronavirus infection. According to official figures, this figure is the highest in Southeast Asia. The closure of many businesses has led the country’s economy to witness its most significant recession in 29 years. Perhaps that is why the authorities are taking desperate steps to restore the economy despite the quarantine restrictions.

Earlier, government officials said that companies that offer grooming services, tutorial centers, and gyms would open starting September 1 in all areas that have switched to GCQ. According to information from the President’s secretary, restrictive measures can continue for a month instead of 14 days. Companies and their staff will have to make every effort to ensure the highest security measures. Therefore, local authorities need to develop requirements for health protection protocols further and oblige local businesses to adhere to them.


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