Gaming ops in metropolitan Manila have been closed with immediate effect for one month, Philippine casino regulator Pagcor has announced. The move is part of the country’s efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19 and came into effect from Sunday; operators were given until midnight to comply, reports say.
The regulator said: “In line with the instruction of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to put Metro Manila under community quarantine to prevent the further spread of … COVID-19, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp is suspending all gaming operations effective immediately”.
Metropolitan Manila as a whole is on a one-month lockdown, running until April 14th.
Pagcor added that hotels at casino resorts can remain in operation, as can food outlets. Gaming venues outside Manila would remain open unless local government declared community quarantine. Public gatherings are banned in all Pagcor venues, however, across the country.
Bizarrely, the month-long suspension does not apply to Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), which offer services to foreign players; they will only be allowed a minimum number of workers, while the remaining staff “will be restricted to their respective living quarters where they will observe social distancing and quarantine protocols”.
The regulator has donated PHP500million toward helping the country’s efforts to contain the disease.