Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) chief Andrea Domingo has called for calm in the wake of a suspected robbery inside the Resorts World Manila casino that has left more than 30 people, including the gunman, dead.
In an interview, Domingo said that they are already closely coordinating with the management of Resorts World to determine whether the integrated resort committed security lapses despite receiving an advisory two weeks ago.
The state regulator had issued a security advisory to all PAGCOR licensees and casinos to be more vigilant and to have stricter security measures as the government placed Manila on heightened alert following military strikes against Islamic militants in the southern portion of the country.
Domingo, however, stressed that the Resorts World incident is just “an isolated case of random violence” caused by “a foreign-looking man who appeared to be deranged” and not by any terrorist groups.
“We will review all reports and make an assessment of how and why that happened. In the meantime, we will reiterated the security advisory we issued two weeks regarding the need to be more vigilant and to have stricter security measures,” Domingo told CalvinAyre.com. “Contrary to some reports, the incident was not an act of terrorism and should not be treated as such.”
When asked whether the incident will dent the gambling industry’s revenue target for the year, Domingo said: “We are monitoring all other casinos to gauge the effect if any. We will know in a few days.”
The integrated resort had earlier denied allegations of security lapses on their part, saying that the casino guards “did not engage” the gunman in order to avoid escalating the incident.
Resorts World Manila chief operating officer Stephen Reilly insisted that only security personnel who are outside the building are allowed to carry firearms.
“We had an armed intruder who entered into the property. He fired his firearm, he was in combat attire. Security inside the premises do not carry firearms, only outside the premises,” he told reporters, according to ABS-CBN News. “They did not engage because it was seen that that would escalate the situation. Unfortunately, the situation did escalate a bit further.”
In addition to the gunman, who took his own life following the suspected botched robbery, a reported 36 casino customers died from apparent suffocation and smoke inhalation after the gunman set fire to some casino tables.
Meanwhile, Philippine gaming stocks tumbled on the last trading day of the week as a result of the deadly attack in Resorts World.
Resorts World operator Travellers International Hotel Group plunged 8.82 percent to P3.10 when the market opened on Friday. City of Dreams Operator Melco Resorts and Entertainment and Solaire operator Bloomberry Resorts were also down 3.27 percent and 1.02 percent, respectively.