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Okada casino license on hold

Jess Diaz - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The casino license of Japanese billionaire gaming investor Kazuo Okada at the Entertainment City in Parañaque is on hold, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) said yesterday.         

“We have sent them a notice that we will not allow them to start casino operation until all their pending cases are resolved,” Francis Hernando, Pagcor vice president for gaming license and development, told the House committee on games and amusement.  Hernando said despite the notice, Okada’s company Tiger has opted to continue constructing its $2-billion casino-entertainment complex.         

He said Tiger is on schedule in its construction.         

He said the cases Okada and his company are facing involve alleged violations of the anti-dummy law and the 60-40 ownership of land in favor of Filipino investors.         

The charges are pending with the Department of Justice (DOJ), he added.         

Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. of Dasmariñas City in Cavite, committee chairman, warned Pagcor that allowing Okada to continue with his casino project gives the investor hope that he would be eventually allowed to operate it despite the pending cases.         

“They might use that against you. If you do not allow them to open, they will go after Pagcor and they might even claim reimbursement for what they have spent,” he said.         

Hernando said Pagcor is monitoring the DOJ investigation and if it progresses, the regulator might be forced to order Tiger to stop construction at its casino site.         

During the hearing, Pagcor president Jorge Sarmiento reported that Pagcor earned P40.5 billion last year, while Resorts World, one of its casino franchisees, grossed P30 billion.         

Donato Almeda, managing director of Solaire casino, said they earned P15 billion in 2013.         

“Some 55 percent of our earnings came from our foreign clients,” he said.         

 

CASINO

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

DONATO ALMEDA

ELPIDIO BARZAGA JR. OF DASMARI

ENTERTAINMENT CITY

FRANCIS HERNANDO

OKADA

PAGCOR

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