by Jullie Y. Daza
After a fire set off by a loser at a casino on June 2, where 38 persons including the arsonist lost their lives, is it business as usual in the three newer casinos in a city where life is a constant gamble between the lucky ones and the less favored?
The chance to find out came when a friend invited me to a non-gaming social event at one of them. I quickly accepted the invitation, sure that I could look all I wanted at the people coming and going even without entering the casino proper. From the lobby, what I saw was a sight for sore eyes if those eyes belonged to an operator or manager: Yes, the casino floor with its glittering lights at 2 in the afternoon of a pay-day Saturday was full of players. I didn’t think kibitzers were welcome, but not being an habitue I was operating on the assumption that players and gamblers are more awake and active at night, but not at siesta time.
Curiosity having gotten the better of me and without preamble, I approached the guard, a woman in a large-size blue uniform. I asked her pointblank if business had been affected by the Resorts World Manila incident. Staring into my face with an expression both stern and suspicious, she said, “It has always been the same.” Perhaps she thought I was casing the joint and up to no good? Good for her; we need suspicious guards, maybe officious ones, too.
The fact is that “except for RWM” after the attack, “the casinos in E-City are doing well and meeting all their targets.”
You can take that statement of Pagcor Chairman Andrea Domingo straight to the bank. Just to play it safe, I texted my friend who happens to be her media girl, Twinkle Valdez, to let her know I would be doing my own ocular within the hour. Twinkle’s reply: “The integrated resorts in E-City have presented their heightened security measures to Pagcor, whose directors will witness the drills that will be conducted, once they are scheduled. As for RWM, they have increased security with armed guards, hired an international security agency, and installed more metal detectors and X-ray machines.”
Anyone willing to bet that after a while people will forget what happened, and then RWM will bounce back, good as new? One thing about gamblers, so I’ve been told, is that they’re perennially looking for a lucky spot.