By William Casis | FilAm Star Correspondent
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) board suspended gambling operations at Resorts World Manila (RWM) pending its investigation into the deadly attack last June 2 which claimed the lives of 37 people.
“Pacgor hereby suspends the provisional license to operate casinos and other gaming facilities issued to Travellers’ International Hotel Group Incorporated doing business under the name and style of Resorts World Manila (RWM),” Pagcor CEO Andrea Domingo and Chairman Alfredo Lim said in a letter sent to RWM President Kingson Sian.
Pagcor said the suspension will remain until RWM “rectifies its serious security lapses and deficiencies – which caused not only the loss of lives and damaged properties – but also placed the Philippine gaming, tourism and hospitality industries in bad light.”
The robbery attempt led to a congressional inquiry that pointed to security lapses on the part of establishment.
The Pagcor board announced its decision after lone gunman Jessie Carlos stormed RWM and set ablaze gaming tables in the casino, triggering initial fears of a terror attack.
It warned that “non-compliance with the order shall cause Pagcor to impose other sanctions as may be warranted under existing laws.”
It also required all integrated resorts to submit security and safety protocols to prevent a similar incident.
Pagcor said it cannot immediately revoke the establishment’s license prior to an investigation, and without due process. Pagcor itself came under fire following the incident.
Meanwhile, RWM said it has engaged the services of international security firm Blackpanda to review its safety protocols.
“We are determined to regain people’s trust after the tragic incident last week,” RWM COO Stephen Reilly said in statement.
“Blackpanda’s breadth of experience covers over 1,000 missions across 50 countries in 6 continents. They have successfully conducted peacetime advisory operations and even counter-terrorist combat missions,” Reilly added.
Blackpanda specializes in crisis response, risk management, and security consulting. It is comprised of people who have served in military Special Operations units within the US, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines, according to RWM.
RWM is being operated by Travellers International Hotel Group owned by business tycoon Andrew Tan.
As this developed, it was reported that the fall-out continues for Tan’s companies as Travellers International Hotel Group and Alliance Global Group suffered a combined loss of about PHP 15.69 billion in market capitalization a week since the RWM attack.
The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) said that as of June 9, Travellers International Hotel Group lost about PHP 7.09 billion in market capitalization since trading in June. Its parent company, Alliance Global Group, has likewise incurred a loss of about PHP 8.6 billion in market value.
“Everything we’re seeing in the share price movement, I would say you’d expect after the incident,” said Luis Limlingan, head of sales and research at Regina Capital Development Corporation.
Prior to the attack, RWM stocks were priced at PHP 3.40 apiece. But as markets closed on Friday, June 9, RWM stocks closed 10.29 percent lower at PHP 3.05.