• Pagcor orders tighter security in Resorts World Manila

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    THE Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) said the security and safety conditions now required of Resorts World Manila (RWM) were stricter, a day after it lifted the suspension of the casino’s gaming license.

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    “Technically, some of the conditions are not the same as each resort-casino has its own security and safety protocols. The conditions set for RWM was based on what we assessed were lacking,” said Pagcor Vice President Jose Tria Jr.

    On Thursday, Pagcor said the lifting of the suspension order against Resorts World Manila’s gaming operations was based on its assessment that the casino’s operator had complied with the gaming regulator’s required security and safety improvements.

    It said Resorts World Manila’s security and safety improvements included hiring a new security agency as well as experts for the following:

    • increased number of x-ray machines and improved safety and security systems;

    • “doubled-up” deployment of guards with firearms and metal detectors;

    • review and improvement of safety and security protocols for various emergency scenarios;

    • seminars by professional structural engineers for employees; and

    • fire and safety inspection certificates for building and structural integrity.

    The agency said the lifting of the suspension order was also in consideration of the casino’s 6,000 workers, whose livelihoods had been affected.

    “Also, the government loses an average of P14 million per day or P434 million a month as a result of the suspension order,” Pagcor said.

    Pagcor suspended Resorts World Manila’s gaming license on June 9, following the June 2 lone-wolf attack that took 38 lives, including that of gunman Jessie Carlos.

    Carlos, a gambling addict, barged into the casino and caught security personnel off-guard, setting fire on casino tables and slot machines before holing up in a fifth-floor hotel room, where he shot and burned himself to death.

    Pagcor maintained its position that the lifting of the suspension did not absolve Resorts World Manila’s officers and personnel of any criminal liability, to be determined by government investigating bodies.

    “With the lifting of the suspension order, Pagcor enjoins TIHGI as well as all gaming operators to continuously improve their safety procedures and protocols to ensure that this tragic incident will not happen again. Pagcor wants to move on as an institution. Hence, it is doing what is best and what is legal for the greater good of everyone,” the agency said.

    TIHGI is Travellers International Hotel Group, Inc., which operates Resorts World. It is owned by Malaysia’s Genting and Andrew Tan-led Alliance Global Group.

    ‘Blackpanda’ tapped

    Travellers said on Friday it was putting up the best security and safety measures for the hotel-casino by upgrading technology.

    Just recently, Resorts World Manila engaged the services of an international security outfit, Blackpanda, to tighten security protocols.

    Resorts World has also committed to further intensify its coordination and joint drill sessions with the Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Fire Protection for various emergency scenarios.

    “With Pagcor’s assistance and guidance, we can now start the difficult task of rebuilding as it is also our responsibility to take care of our 6,000 staff and personnel,” Kingson Sian, Resorts World Manila president and chief executive officer, said.

    “We are bringing back the gaming operations on the ground and third floors of our integrated resort. The second floor will no longer be used for casino operations and will be utilized for other non-gaming purposes instead,” he added.

    Gaming operations resumed on Thursday just after Pagcor lifted the suspension.

    with ANGELICA BALLESTEROS

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