PAGCOR suspends Resorts World’s casino license; hotel taps global security experts

June 10, 2017 - 12:20 AM
RWM COO Stephen James Reilly
Resorts World Manila COO Stephen James Reilly faces the cameras after the June 2 tragedy. On Friday, he said Resorts World was determined "to regain people's trust" and had tapped global security expert Blackpanda. PAGCOR suspended RWM's gaming license. NEWS5 SCREEN GRAB

MANILA – The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) suspended on Friday the Provisional License granted to Travellers International Hotel Group to operate casinos and other gaming facilities under the business name of RWM, following the June 2 arson spree by a lone gunman that left 38 people dead and 54 injured.

This, as the hotel in Pasay City, through RWM Chief Operating Officer Stephen Reilly, vowed it would do everything to “regain people’s trust after the tragic incident last week.”

In a statement, the state gaming regulator ordered RWM to “cease and desist all gaming operations while investigation on its liability regarding the June 2 incident is ongoing.”

The suspension will remain, PAGCOR said, “until RWM rectifies its serious security lapses and deficiencies – which caused not only the loss of lives and damaged properties – but also placed the Philippine gaming, tourism and hospitality industries in bad light.”

On Friday, RWM announced it had engaged the service of noted international security experts in order to review and address the gaps that made it possible for lone gunman Jessie Carlos to enter the hotel and torch gaming tables and slot machines on the second floor, before killing himself.

PAGCOR said non-compliance with its cease-and-desist order shall invite other sanctions as may be warranted under existing laws.

PAGCOR, meanwhile, is also requiring all integrated resorts to submit security and safety protocols to make sure that this will not happen again.

As the country’s gaming regulator, PAGCOR said it will continue to safeguard the interest not only of all gaming industry players but also, of all guests, tourists and other stakeholders involved.

Resorts World taps security experts

Meanwhile, Resorts World Manila international security experts under Blackpanda to review and tighten its security and safety protocols.

“Blackpanda’s breadth of experience covers over 1000 missions across 50 countries in six continents. They have successfully conducted peacetime advisory operations and even counterterrorist combat missions,” said COO Reilly.

Blackpanda specializes in crisis response, risk management, and security consulting. It is comprised exclusively by individuals who have served at the highest levels of military Special Operations units within the US, Canada, New Zealand and the Philippines.

The private security firm will comb through RWM’s security and safety protocols and practices to identify areas for improvement, recommend risk reduction measures, and guide RWM through its implementation.

“The recent breach in our security and the resulting loss of lives is truly regrettable and we cannot let it happen again,” Reilly continued.

“We will rebuild and make Resorts World better and stronger. A big part of this is to bring in world experts. We are going all out to reassure everybody — our nearly 6,000 employees and their families, and the millions who come to visit — that their safety is our priority.