Resorts World Manila operator vows to 'defend' gaming license

MANILA, Philippines – Travellers International Hotel Group Incorporated will exert all efforts to "preserve and defend its provisional gaming license," which had been suspended by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor).

Travellers, the owner and operator of Resorts World Manila, confirmed to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) that it has received the order issued by Pagcor suspending its provisional license pending a probe into the company's alleged liability for the deadly June 2 attack.

"The company confirms that it is fully committed to abide by the said order and shall fully cooperate with the authorities on all investigations relevant to the incident," Travellers said.

"The company assures its stakeholders that all efforts shall be exerted to preserve and defend the company's provisional license," it added.

Last Friday, June 9, Pagcor suspended the provisional license granted to Travellers to operate casinos and other gaming facilities under the business name of Resorts World Manila after an attack that left 36 people dead.

Lone gunman Jessie Carlos barged into the hotel-casino and set gaming tables ablaze, triggering fires that suffocated guests and employees. Police said Carlos, a former Department of Finance employee who was heavily in debt due to gambling, then committed suicide.

With the suspension, Pagcor said Resorts World Manila must cease and desist all gaming operations while the investigation is ongoing. Failure to comply with the order would mean further sanctions for the casino.

Pagcor said the Resorts World Manila attack caused not only loss of lives and damage to property, but also placed the Philippine gaming, tourism, and hospitality industries in a bad light. (READ: FAST FACTS: What you need to know about the Philippine casino industry)

Following the disclosure, the share price of Travellers dropped 1.64% to P3 per share from the P3.05 close last Friday. (READ: Casino stocks plunge after Resorts World Manila attack)

Resorts World Manila is an 11.5-hectare development that opened in 2009. It was the first Pagcor licensee to operate an integrated resort and casino in the country.

Aside from Resorts World Manila, Travellers is also building another integrated resort and casino called Bayshore City Resorts World at Entertainment City in Parañaque City.

Bayshore City Resorts World is targeted to be completed by the end of 2020. – Rappler.com