PAGCOR licensed and operated casinos remain closed
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has announced on Tuesday night that Metro Manila will remain in General Community Quarantine status for another 15 days (GCQ), following the initial announcement on 1 June to transition from a stricter Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) to GCQ.
Upon recommendation from the Inter-Agency Task Force on Covid-19 (IATF), the whole Metro Manila and other parts of the country will extend the GCQ status until 15 July, due to the increase in Covid-19 cases.
PAGCOR licensed and operated casinos, including integrated resorts in Metro Manila and other locations under GCQ remain closed as well as all electronic betting stations, bingo halls and poker clubs.
However, casinos in locations in Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ), less strict that GCQ, have resumed operations in limited capacity, including those in Clark, Ilocos Region, and several areas in the Visayas, south of Metro Manila.
Meanwhile, Cebu City, located in the tourist island of Cebu, remains to be at the strictest Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). Only essential businesses are allowed to open and only one person per household is allowed to go out for basic needs.
Several PAGCOR operated casinos and betting stations in Cebu remain closed while betting stations in neighboring islands have reopened in limited operations. Late last month, Emerald Bay, the first integrated resort located in the tourist island, announced that its first phase opening will be pushed back to 2022. Construction for the IR started December 2017 and initially planned to open in 2020.
Meanwhile, casino operators in the country have been preparing for the possible reopening with mass Covid-19 testing for employees, sanitation of the entire property and have released detailed guidelines to follow once the they reopen.
Online casino operations (POGOs) have been allowed to reopen in early May following a set of guidelines by the regulator Philippine Amusement & Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). The reopening guidelines include update in payments of tax obligations to the government. Late last month, several lawmakers in the country have aired their side regarding taxation guidelines for POGOs, stating that all POGOs, regardless if registered in the country or offshore, are subject to a 5 percent franchise tax.
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