Philippine casinos want to be spared from proposed smoke, booze ban

TAGs: Jasmine Solana, Kingson Sian, Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, travellers international

Philippine casinos want to be spared from proposed smoke, booze banThe Philippine gaming industry doesn’t see a problem with the changes president-elect Rodrigo Duterte are proposing, except for one thing: the smoking and liquor ban.

Local casino operators are reportedly seeking to be exempted from the proposed ban on smoking and drinking in public places in the country, according to The Philippine Star.

Travellers International Hotel Group CEO and President Kingson Sian told the local media outlet a number of operators will be meeting with the incoming president “this month to discuss the proposed regulation.”

Travellers International, a joint venture between Alliance Global Group Inc and Genting Hong Kong Ltd, runs the Resorts World Manila integrated resort in the Philippine capital.

Duterte, who is scheduled to be sworn into office on June 30, has been advocating the nationwide implementation of a smoking and liquor ban to protect the health and welfare of the country’s residents. The president-elect had implemented similar measure in Davao City, where he was mayor before being elected as president of the Philippines.

Sian, however, pointed out that as a legitimate tourism sector, the casino resorts industry attracts all kinds of visitors—including smokers and drinkers—and that it needs all the help it can get, especially now that there’s “an oversupply of casino hotels” in the country.

The Travellers executive is hopeful “the consultations will support” the casino sector’s advocacy, but he maintained that “at the end of the day, we’re a law abiding association and we will abide by the law.”

Aside from Resorts World Manila in Newport City, the Philippine capital is host to two new integrated resorts at the Pagcor Entertainment City—Bloomberry’s Solaire Casino & Resorts and Melco Crown Resorts’ City of Dreams Manila. Kazuo Okada’s Manila Bay Resorts is scheduled to open in 2017, while Genting’s Resorts World Bayshore is expected to be completed by 2018.

Travellers, which has yet to make an update on the Resorts World Bayshore project, announced that it has earmarked between PHP 8 billion (US$173.35 million) to PHP 10 billion (US$216.68 million) for capital spending this year, as the casino operator eyes to develop both gaming and non-gaming sides of the Resorts World Manila.

Sian said the third phase of the Resorts World Manila expansion will see the addition of more gaming and retail space as well as three more hotels to increase the number of hotel rooms from 1,700 to 2,645 rooms.


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