Filipino casinos open at reduced capacity

by Mia Chapman Last Updated
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Casinos in the Philippines are reopening at 30 per cent capacity, following losses of nearly $300 million in the second quarter.

Casino.org reports the news comes from Melco Resorts, owner of City of Dreams in Entertainment City.

The casinos can reopen immediately.

On August 24, the Philippine government allowed PAGCOR-licensed casinos in areas covered by the general community quarantine to operate at 30 per cent operational capacity,” the financial release said.

“City of Dreams Manila is preparing for the resumption of its normal operations in accordance with the terms and conditions of this new guideline.”

PACGOR, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, a regulator and operator of state-run casinos, has yet to formally announce that commercial casinos can indeed resume their operations.

The second quarter results for Manila’s four integrated resorts were dismal, as expected.

Solaire reported a loss of $96.2 million, Resorts World lost $75.9 million, Okada $49.9 million and City of Dreams lost $49.4 million.

The four properties collectively lost $271.4 million.

The Filipino government ordered the casinos to close on March 16.

President Rodrigo Duterte has instructed PAGCOR to allow Manila casinos to reopen, the four operators say it will take some time before they can adjust their gaming floors to adhere to the government’s health safety regulations.

Melco, in addition to its Manila property, owns and operates resorts in Macau.

Other than a 15-day shutdown in February, its casino floors have remained open throughout the pandemic.

Recent decisions to ease restrictions into the enclave have improved business, Melco founder Lawrence Ho said.

“Despite the pandemic-derived travel bans, restrictions and quarantine requirements that had adversely affected the performance of gaming revenues, we are excited to see some early signs of returning to normal operations in our integrated resorts,” Mr Ho explained.

Macau and Las Vegas, the world’s two largest gaming markets, are both allowed to operate casinos at 50 per cent capacity.

A 30 per cent cap is in place in Mila, but that should still ensure there are plenty of gaming positions available.

When running at 30 per cent capacity, Okada has 900 slot machines, City of Dreams has 690, Solaire has 486 and Resorts World has 450.

A total of 420 table games can be offered across the four casinos, despite the restrictions.

Cyprus casinos back up and running

Melco Resorts’ Cyprus subsidiary says it has resumed operations following a three-month closure due to COVID-19, with four of its five Cyprus casinos having reopened on Saturday.

ICR Cyprus, which is 75 per cent owned by Melco and 25 per cent by local firm Cyprus Phassouri Ltd, suspended operations on March 17, impacting its four C2 satellite casinos – Ayia Napa, Nicosia, Larnaca and Paphos, as well as Limassol, the temporary casino in operation while the 550 million euro City of Dreams Mediterranean is being developed.

Asgam reported in June that Melco said it had now reopened for business albeit with a range of restrictions including a limit of three players per gaming table and every second slot machine being deactivated.

Smoking has also been temporarily banned at both tables and slots.

Under guidelines issued by the Minister of Health, casinos have also implemented awareness campaigns and staff training as well as stringent sanitisation procedures.

“The health and safety of guests and colleagues are our top priority,” said Vice President of Gaming Operations Devi Kerr.

“C2 has prepared a comprehensive series of hygiene measures to safeguard the health and comfort of guests and colleagues throughout the casinos.

“It is our belief that the casinos’ reopening will not only contribute to strengthening the tourism industry, but also the recovery of the local economy.”

One of the company’s casinos, C2 Larnaca, has yet to reopen as it moves from its former home at Larnaca International Airport to a new location, Melco said, with all employees to be temporarily transferred to other sites.

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