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Pagcor to close airport casino

Zinnia B. Dela Peña (The Philippine Star) - February 26, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Airport Casino Filipino, located near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, will shut down in the third quarter of the year, weighed down by steep losses following new competition from Solaire Resort & Casino.

Cristino Naguiat Jr., chairman of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., said the agency would no longer renew the license of Airport Casino Filipino, which is set to expire in July.

The casino, which is located across Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Parañaque City, has been incurring huge losses as half of its P18-million monthly revenues automatically goes to the Bureau of Treasury, representing the government’s share in gaming income.

Another P23 million is spent for the lease of the property, utility expenses as well as the payroll of some 800 employees.

Naguiat said the opening of Solaire has also affected Airport Casino Filipino’s revenues.

Port magnate Enrique Razon’s Solaire was the first of four integrated resorts to open in the 100-hectare Las Vegas-like gaming and entertainment hub along Roxas Boulevard.

The second, City of Dreams Manila, the joint venture between Belle Corp. and Macau casino giant Melco Crown, is set to open in the third quarter this year.

The fresh competition led Pagcor to close its Heritage Hotel casino in 2013.

Once completed, the Entertainment City is expected to attract at least one million tourists yearly, generate new jobs and capture at least 10 percent of the global gaming market, which is estimated at $115 billion annually.

The opening of the four casinos is seen to help the Department of Tourism hit its 2016 tourist arrival goal of 10 million.

Naguiat said some 800 Airport Casino Filipino employees will be transferred to other state-owned casinos like the Hyatt Hotel Manila and Pavilion Hotel.

The closure will leave Pagcor with 11 agency-run Casino Filipino facilities and four licensed casinos.

Naguiat said the gaming industry remains bright even for those who are looking for a job, noting that the state gaming agency processes about 50 applications for retirement or early retirement every month.

AIRPORT CASINO FILIPINO BELLE CORP BUREAU OF TREASURY CASINO CASINO FILIPINO CRISTINO NAGUIAT JR. DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM DREAMS MANILA ENRIQUE RAZON NAGUIAT NINOY AQUINO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
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