Duterte orders moratorium on new casinos

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 9) — President Duterte has ordered a moratorium on the establishment of more casinos in the country.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque confirmed this following a Reuters report quoting Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) Chief Andrea Domingo, who said Duterte wants to avoid an "oversupply" of casinos.

Roque says the President wants to wait for "Entertainment City," the country's gaming and entertainment complex in Parañaque, to realize its full potential before deciding if it needs more casinos.

"Nagdesisyon na ang presidente na tama na muna ang mga casino. Kasi hindi pa naman po fully realized yung potential ng Entertainment City," Roque said.

[Translation: The President has decided that we have enough casinos for now since Entertainment City's full potential hasn't been realized yet.]

Entertainment City is an 8km complex located along the Manila bay area, where at least four "integrated resort projects" from private investors have entered different phases of construction.

The complex is expected to bring in more tourists and generate jobs in the country, as it is projected to reach up to $15 billion in investments.

Roque said given the size of these establishments, the government will impose a temporary halt on new casinos.

"Siguro nais muna makita ng presidente kung paano ang magiging operasyon niyan. Kung kinakailangan bang magtayo ng bago," said Roque. "Pero ngayon po dahil dambuhala yang mga casino na yan, magmoratorium muna tayo sa mga bagong dambuhalang mga casino."

[Translation: Maybe the President wants to see how these will operate and if there's a need for newer casino... For now, since these casinos are so big, we'll impose a moratorium on huge casinos first.]

Data from PAGCOR shows the Philippine gaming industry earned gross revenues of P88 billion in the first half of 2017-- roughly 12 percent higher than the same period in 2016.