Andrea Domingo, head of the Philippines’ gaming regulator, said she hopes the president can relax his ban on new casino licenses, fearing the country would lose out on lucrative foreign investment, according to a report from Bloomberg.
“Gaming seems to be the sunrise industry now in Asia,” said Domingo in an interview on Tuesday with Bloomberg. “There are still areas in the Philippines that can still absorb and benefit from these investments, which won’t go here with the current ban.”
During the interview, Domingo said she plans to ask the president as early as this week to implement a selective ban on casino licenses, rather than the current blanket ban.
She would recommend that the ban would be in force in areas not accessible to foreign travelers, thereby alleviating the issue of problem gambling amongst Filipinos.
However. it remains to be seen whether President Duterte could be swayed on the issue.
The president has been known for taking an aggressive stance towards both online and land-based casinos.
In October last year, Duterte ordered the shutdown of all casinos operating in Boracay Island, impacting Galaxy Entertainment Group / Leisure Resorts World Corporation, which was planning to build an IR in Boracay, as well as the Savoy Hotel owned by MegaWorld Corporation, and Hotel Soffia, owned Archibald Po.
Earlier last year, Duterte sacked the entire board of Landing International, halting any and all movement of the operator’s proposed US$1.5 billion theme park and IR in Parañaque City.