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Philippines allows land-based casinos to accept bets online

[MANILA] The Philippine has allowed land-based casinos to accept bets online, in a move that could help operators mitigate losses from the pandemic. Gaming stocks rose.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp has approved the applications of Bloomberry Resorts Corp's Solaire Resort and Casino, City of Dreams Manila, and Okada Manila for betting through the Internet, president Alfredo Lim said in mobile-phone messages.

Shares of Bloomberry rose 4.2 per cent, its biggest gain in more than a month and outpacing the Philippine benchmark stock index's 0.2 per cent advance. Premium Leisure Corp, which earns from City of Dreams Manila, jumped as much as 6.3 per cent before closing up 3.1 per cent.

The gaming regulator's decision will help Manila's integrated casino resorts "survive and get through the pandemic until they are allowed by government to fully operate," said Richard Laneda, an analyst at COL Financial Group Inc. "This is a way for them to earn some revenue." Philippine gross gaming revenue fell 96 per cent in the second quarter as casinos shut to stem the spread of the coronavirus, with operators like Bloomberry posting losses.

The gaming regulator has been pushing to gradually reopen casinos after they were shut in March. Online casinos that only serve offshore markets and catering mostly to Chinese clients have also been hit by restrictions and a new tax on bets.

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