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Reopening of Manila casinos anticipated on or around 15th June

Analysts John DeCree and Sam Ghafir gave the commentary in the context of the first-quarter results of Japan’s Universal Entertainment Corp, parent of Okada Manila, one of the new generation of large-scale private-sector casino resorts in Metro Manila’s Entertainment City, designed to appeal to international customers as well as local ones.

“President [Rodrigo] Duterte announced he could begin easing some restrictions on June 1 that would allow gatherings of up to 10 people and any businesses or shops that can adhere to the 10 person capacity,” noted Union Gaming.

“This would likely preclude casino resorts, which would possibly have the opportunity to open around June 15,” the institution’s analysts added.

It emerged in local media reports on Monday that the anti- Covid-9 lockdown in Metro Manila (pictured) was being eased somewhat for the second time in fewer than three weeks.

The lockdown in place since mid-March has led to the temporary closure of the Entertainment City casinos. The measure started as what is known locally as enhanced community quarantine, was then tweaked in mid-May to a “modified enhanced community quarantine”. That has now shifted to a general community quarantine.

But there was no word specifically on the status of Manila’s casinos. On Monday the respective websites of the Entertainment City properties said only that the shutdowns were ongoing.

Last week a senior executive at City of Dreams Manila confirmed to GGRAsia that it, like market rival Solaire Resort and Casino, would eventually restart with reduced gaming operations for health and safety reasons once the Covid-19 lockdown is lifted.

In mid-May, Nomura Group said in commentary that Solaire’s operator Bloomberry aimed to “restart approximately 20 percent of its gaming capacity once the lockdown is lifted” in Metro Manila, “but this will greatly depend on the government allowing casinos to operate.” The institution was echoing comments made to local media in April by Enrique Razon, the chairman of Bloomberry, who had referred to the need for physical distancing.