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MANILA, Philippines— The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation board has ordered Resorts World Manila (RWM) to stop all gaming operations while Pagcor conducts an investigation to determine its liability in the attack that killed 37 people on June 2.
The Pagcor board announced its decision on Friday, June 9 – a week after lone gunman Jessie Carlos stormed Resorts World and set ablaze gaming tables in the casino, triggering initial fears of a terror attack.
“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.
With the suspension, RWM must cease and desist all gaming operations during its investigation, Pagcor said.
It added that 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 establishment. (READ: Resorts World COO admits ‘lapses in security’ during attack)
Players in the travel and tourism industry have said that they expect the incident to affect their sector.
The gaming regulator 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 has come under fire following the incident. Lawmakers have revived a proposed measure to transfer to Congress Pagcor’s power to grant licenses to casinos.
RWM brings in global security experts
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 on Friday.
“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 counterterrorist 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.
“The recent breach in our security and the resulting loss of lives is truly regrettable and we cannot let it happen again,” Reilly said. – Rappler.com