CASINO

City of Dreams Manila catches senator’s eye over job cuts

TAGs: city of dreams manila, Jasmine Solana, Melco Crown Entertainment, melco crown philippines, Miriam Defensor Santiago, Philippines

City of Dreams Manila’s reported layoffs have landed the casino in hot water with Philippine lawmakers.

City of Dreams Manila catches senator’s eye over job cutsSenator Miriam Defensor Santiago filed Senate Resolution 1520 on Aug. 19, in which she calls for an investigation “in aid of legislation” over reports that Melco Crown Philippines, which operates the casino resort, is suspending 100 workers amid profit losses that “widened” in June.

The casino operator’s filings with the Philippine Stock Exchange showed a consolidated comprehensive loss of P1.82 billion ($38.97 million) from April to June 2015, which is 27 percent higher than P1.43 billion ($30.62 million) from the same period last year.

“The losses were allegedly due to gaming tax and license fees; inventories consumed; employee benefit expenses; depreciation and amortization; other expenses; payments to the Philippine parties; interest expenses; other finance fees; and amortization of deferred financing costs,” the resolution stated.

Last month, Melco Crown decided to let go of close to 2 percent of its total workforce as part of cost rationalization. But the casino operator said the laid off employees will return to work when the business “picks up.”

Santiago, however, is wary that Melco Crown is “setting a precedent for other employers and business owners to suspend workers when convenient, with utter disregard for these workers’ rights.”

“It is the duty of the government to protect workers from abusive practices of their employers,” said the lawmaker.

Melco Crown Philippines announced last year that it will hire 5,000 people in time for the casino resort’s soft opening in December. City of Dreams Manila has a capacity for 380 gaming tables, 1,700 slot machines and 1,700 electronic table games, while its non-gaming amenities include hotel, retail, food and beverages, and entertainment facilities.

But now Melco said its gaming business is not ramping up, prompting the company to take a “step towards rightsizing” and reduce its workforce, which include restaurant staff and casino dealers.

Melco and its local partner, Belle Corporation, are banking on gaming revenues from its VIP segment to end the year strong.

City of Dreams is the second integrated casino resort that opened at Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp’s (Pagcor) Entertainment City, following Bloomberry Resort Corp’s Solaire Resort and Casino. Two more casino resorts are scheduled to open in the 120-hectare development in the next few years: Universal Entertainment and Tiger Resorts’ Manila Bay Resorts, and Genting Group and Alliance Global Group’s Resorts World Bayshore.

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