P3,000 entrance fee could drive away casino patrons – Pagcor chief

A casino dealer collects chips at a roulette table in Pasay City. (Reuters)

MANILA, Philippines — A P3,000 casino entrance fee being proposed in Congress could drive away local patrons of the gambling establishments, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation chairperson Andrea Domingo warned Wednesday.

“If the P3,000 would be imposed as entrance fee, it would wipe out the whole mass market,” Domingo said at the congressional inquiry on the Resorts World incident when asked to comment on the bill seeking to impose the entrance fee.

“It will have a negative effect, we hope Congress would be listening to all those affected,” Domingo said.

However, she added, “We have no objection if (a) portion of the amount could be used for playing.”

One bill filed by Isabela Representative Rodolfo Albano III seeks to collect P3,000 from people entering “any and all casinos and similar gaming establishments for the purpose of engaging in gambling and other related gaming activities.”

“The purpose of this act addresses the need to ensure that persons entering any and all casinos have the resources to engage in any form of gambling and related activities … and to strengthen the regulation of gambling activities in the country,” the bill says.

A similar bill filed earlier by Misamis Oriental Representative Peter Unabia seeks a P3,500 entrance fee on Filipinos “with a gross income for the previous year of at least P50,000.”

The bill allows free entrance for tourists and foreigners who are not residents of the Philippines.

Measures to restrict casino access were revived following the June 2 rampage at Resorts World Manila by a gambling addicted gunman who set off a deadly fire that left 37 patrons and staff dead and then killed himself.