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Philippines casino plan goes down like a lead balloon

Wed, Jan 2, 12:56pm by Staff Writer

Plans by a Philippines casino to release tens of thousands of balloons to celebrate the New Year has been met with angst. Okada Manila planned to ring in the New Year by dropping 130,000 balloons in one of its nightclubs to set a new world record.

The casino decided to voluntarily cancel the stunt as a “sign of respect” to environmentalists’ warnings according to a statement released last Sunday.

The Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources had joined green groups in criticising the balloon drop, saying it would generate a huge amount of waste.

In a statement on Monday, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources chief Roy Cimatu described Okada Manila’s decision as “laudable”.

Okada Manila initially remarked that the balloons would be biodegradable and recycled after the event, according to New Straits Times.

The hotel’s social media pages were inundated with concern about its message, including from campaigners such as Greenpeace Philippines, with a petition gaining tens of thousands of signatures for the event to be cancelled.

Balloons marked as biodegradable such as those that were proposed by Okada Manila can remain in an ocean environment for four years according to the UK’s Marine Conservation Society.

In recent years, setting Guinness World Records has become popular in the Philippines including the ‘largest charity walk’ and ‘most hamburgers eaten in one minute’.

But the show must go on

Despite no balloon drop, Okada Manila welcomed the New Year with their OPM Legends performance featuring Hazel Faith and the Manila Sound Project.

Cove Manila hosted a New Year’s Eve countdown party featuring UK DJ Pete Tonga and the Okada Manila Entertainment Group.

Okada Manila is a casino resort and hotel complex located on the Entertainment City gaming strip in Manila.

Entertainment City is a gaming and entertainment complex spanning 8km2 in Bay City, Manila.

Okada Manila opened in 2016 after Japanese businessman Kazuo Okada’s Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment were granted a license to operate a casino in Manila in 2008.

The facility was intended to be a competitor with casinos in Macau and position Manila as a regional and international gaming destination.

Okada Manila occupies an area of 110 acres with more than 25,000 square metres of gaming space.

The hotel building is comprised of two wings, each with 15 floors and connected by two sky bridges.

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