A casino entrance fee of P3,000 has been proposed by a lawmaker to deter non-moneyed and indebted individuals from entering casino premises.
Rep. Rodolfo Albano 3rd of Isabela made the proposal on Friday in his still unnumbered House bill two days after a 12-hour congressional probe revealed that the Resorts World Manila management does not have a crisis plan for simultaneous emergencies such as those that arose on June 2 when a lone gunman, Jessie Carlos, burned tables and fired at LED screens, sparking a fire that killed 37 people.
“The bill seeks to strengthen regulation of the participation or engagement of citizens in casino gambling by ensuring that those who enter casinos and similar gaming establishments have the financial resources to engage in gambling,” Albano said in his bill.
“A casino entrance charge will serve as a deterrent to those who lack the resources or can ill afford to engage in gambling from entering a casino,” he added.
Under Albano’s bill, the P3,000 entrance fee will be collected from persons entering any and all casinos and similar gaming establishments for the purpose of engaging in gambling and related gaming activities.
The fees collected will then go to a special fund, which will be utilized for the establishment and maintenance of children and youth welfare centers under the supervision of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
At least 50 percent of the proceeds will then be earmarked for children and youth welfare programs in the city or municipality where the casino is located.
Rep. Gus Tambunting of Parañaque City, chairman of the House Committee on Games and Amusements, earlier said the abrupt fleeing of Resorts World Manila personnel stationed in its CCTV monitoring room as soon as Carlos stormed the place had doomed the lives of the 37 people.
“The decision of their personnel to abruptly abandon the CCTV room is very fatal. The gunman went in around 12:20 p.m., and yet nobody was immediately around in that control room. They were so dependent on the second control room in Remington Hotel. That is just unacceptable,” Tambunting said in a chance interview.
“They are supposed to be the eyes and ears on the ground, and yet they were the first ones to flee. Had it not been the case, they would have immediately seen the gunman coming in armed from the elevator and the security will be able to pursue the gunman,” he added.
National Capital Region Police Office Director Oscar Albayalde told lawmakers that the Resorts World management delayed informing the police for two hours that there is another fully functioning CCTV monitoring room in the nearby Remington Hotel–something that would have helped the police locate the gunman and rescue trapped casino players and guests.
“We have all seen the result of their actions. Nobody told police that there’s only one gunman,” Tambunting said.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez of Davao del Norte warned that the management of Resorts World Manila is not yet off the hook.
Alvarez said it was puzzling that videos showed that Carlos was particularly looking for Room 510 of Maxims Hotel,which is part of Resorts World Manila, where he eventually burned and shot himself to death.
“Why is the assailant looking for Room 510? What is in that room? You all saw in the video that he is after that room. Who is the owner of that unit? Who is the client of that room where he forced his entry?” he asked.