PAGCOR Approves Solaire Resort and Casino for Online Bets

Gaming regulatory body in the Philippines approved one application from a land-based casino operator to accept bets online, with another two applications currently reviewed, in a latest attempt to help operators offset the coronavirus impact on the business, Bloomberg reports.

Land-Based Casino Will Accept Online Bets

The Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) authorized Solaire Resort and Casino operated by Bloomberry Resorts, to accepts online bets, president Alfredo Lima informed in mobile messages. The casino’s system will have to undergo testing with the regulator, the agency further clarified.

PAGCOR is also reviewing applications from City of Dreams Manila and Okada Manila, as the regulator is seeking to help integrated casino resorts in the capital survive the adverse effect from the coronavirus outbreak and sustain business until restrictions are entirely lifted and full operations can commence.

The information released by the gaming regulator pushed investor interest in shares of casino resorts operators. Bloomberry Resorts saw its stock jump 4.2% during the daily trading on November 3, the biggest gain for the casino company for more than a month.

Shares of the operator of City of Dreams Manila, Premium Leisure Corp, soared 6.3% during daily trading but later subsided and managed to hold only to 3.1% of the daily gains. For comparison, the Philippine benchmark stock index rose just 0.2%, totally outpaced by the rise in shares of the casino companies.

Looking to Offset the Impact

The land-based casino industry in the Philippines was heavily impacted during the second quarter of 2020. Revenue fell 96% as casinos were shut to help curb the further spread of the coronavirus infection, incurring losses for operators like Bloomberry Resorts. Since March when casinos were ordered to close, PAGCOR is pushing for a gradual reopening.

Online operators were not left unscathed by the virus-related restrictions, despite serving only offshore markets and catering primarily to Chinese customers, as they were subjected to a new tax on bets.

The rising daily number of cases is a reason for worry for the Philippines’ Department of Health (DOH), ahead of the approaching holiday season. The DOH is strongly discouraging public karaoke and videoke sessions due to fear of virus transmission. Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire noted the department is not recommending the reopening of karaoke bars, urging families to engage in activities inside their homes.

Having already decided to ban Christmas parties due to fear of infection, the Philippines government is mulling a ban on Christmas caroling, a tradition for Filipinos to hop from house to house and sing to the neighbors for some cash or sweets.

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