Thus, said Andrea “Didi” Domingo, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) chairperson and CEO, during the media forum “Balitaan” organized by the Capampangan in Media, Inc. in cooperation with the Clark Development Corp. at the Midori Hotel and Casino here on Friday.
Shortly before the media forum, Domingo was given a brief tour of the hotel and casino facilities by Dr. Irineo “Bong” Alvaro, consultant and former president of BB International Leisure and Resort Development Corp., the owner and developer of Midori.
“We would like to encourage other casinos to also put up a total entertainment package just like Midori and the ones in the Entertainment City where it is a total package,” Domingo said.
“It is tourism-based and then it’s a hotel. That is the reason why every casino now that would apply, we will require a hotel so that we know that they are going to put in tourists and the tourists or most of them would be the ones playing in their casinos,” she added.
“This is also where Las Vegas has gone from purely gaming into a total package of entertainment, amusement, tourism and gaming,” Domingo explained.
She said Pagcor, which is the government agency that regulates the operation of casinos in the country, has accredited 11 casinos that have 34 satellite casinos. Domingo said all 11 casinos have been given licenses by Pagcor excluding junkets or VIP rooms.
“We’re promising a very transparent, a very effi cient and professional management,” she stressed. “We’re putting in the proper systems for monitoring, not only the shares of government in the regulated casinos as well as those owned by Pagcor but also monitoring the activities of our people,” she pointed out.
As newly appointed Pagcor chair and CEO, Domingo said: “I welcome all recommendations and complaints for as long as they’re not personal. They can go to my offi ce anytime, make an appointment or they can wait if they don’t have an appointment.”
“I will see them and hear them and see and evaluate if what they’re saying is true and then we‘ll act on it,” She assured.
Domingo lamented that other groups apply for casino licenses even before procuring their machines.
“Wala pa siyang machines pero may lisensya na siya. Hindi naman yan pwede parang hindi ka pa nag-aral mag drive may professional lisensya ka na (They still don’t have the machines but they already have a license. That’s not allowed because you’re still learning how to drive but you already have a professional license),” she said. “We will revoke their licenses,” she added.
Domingo said the minimum requirement for putting up a casino in Metro Manila is $1 billion investment while $500 million is required outside Manila plus surety bond, cash bonds LGU permits and barangay and church permits. “Without these, Pagcor will not issue a license,” she said.
Domingo said, “Pagcor has changed my life very drastically.” She said “before I can do yoga and I can compete in dance sport but now all of the exercise is gone. I go to the office at about 7 or 7:30 a.m. and then I go home only after I finish everything on my desk.”
“I exercise only my brain and my signing arm now,” she said in jest. “The thing that I miss most is my dancing and my painting,” she added.
TF illegal gambling
Domingo also announced that by next week, Pagcor will organize a meeting with Chairman Abraham Mitra of the Games and Amusement Board (GAB), Director General Ronald “Bato” M. Dela Rosa of the Philippine National Police, the National Bureau of Investigation and several other agencies to put a task force that will go after illegal gambling “which are basically those that are not licensed and operating mostly through internet that is why it’s very diffi cult to detect (them).”
Domingo said if Pagcor will stop issuing licenses starting now by 2018 there will be no more e-games and e-bingo because that is the directive of President Duterte.
But she said “for now the executive order containing the president’s directive is yet to be signed that is why we cannot arbitrarily and unilaterally take out that kind of gaming out of the system yet.”
Meanwhile, Alvaro said it is enough that Midori Hotel and Casino, which will have its grand opening in December, has earned praises from Domingo. “After all, that’s all that matters,” he said.