During these unprecedented times when the gambling industry is among the most impacted from the coronavirus due to the closure of land-based gaming facilities, Enrique Razon, Chairman and CEO of Manilla-based Bloomberry Resorts Corp, is one of the few that places human beings before businesses.
The billionaire that ranked 565 in Forbes’ “World’s Billionaires List 2020” shared his expectations that he had already written off 2020 as the global economy had already been hit hard by the outbreak of the virus.
His company, Bloomberry Resorts, owns and operates Solaire Resort & Casino in Entertainment City on Luzon Island in the Philippines. Starting March 15, the casino has been shut, after the country’s gaming regulator, PAGCOR, issued a directive and ordered gaming facilities to temporarily close doors, to minimize the person-to-person transmission of the virus. Initially, the closure was expected to last until April 12, but was later extended until the end of the month.
“We will have to tally up the losses later on. The only thing that counts now is defeating the virus.”Enrique Razon, Chairman and CEO, Bloomberry Resorts Corp
As much as any other casino operator, Bloomberry would feel the impact on its revenue from the ongoing health crisis and implemented mitigation measures to contain the spread of the disease. Enrique Razon, however, did not have much concerns related to cash depletion, claiming his group was standing pretty healthy and would be able to weather the storm.
Human Lives Come First
The real test for the business would be when the quarantine measures are being lifted, the billionaire that also owns and chairs a port operator company, stipulated in the interview. Enrique Razon is convinced that the virus and the lockdowns impacted everyone, and even after the restrictions are off, people would focus spending only on basic needs such as food, and even prefer to save money instead of spend on things they do not need to survive. Therefore, the economic recovery would be painful and slow, Mr Razon concluded.
“Lifting lockdowns in this environment is going to be very tricky. There has to be a plan, it’s not just one day to the next, so I think a lot of people are under-estimating what this is going to take.”Enrique Razon, Chairman and CEO, Bloomberry Resorts Corp
His opinion is opposite to the voices raised from the US, where billionaires called for the authorities to bring back people to work, even at the expense of losing more human lives, as the damage of continuing to keep the economy closed could be worse than that. Such a controversial rallying call, coming from the people that stand to lose the most, and especially when hospitals are at a tipping point capacity-wise, can very easily split the society and have unpredictable effects.