THE hotel and casino business inside Clark Freeport are among the biggest casualties due to the pandemic and were placed in a difficult situation since the lockdown. Industrial and manufacturing companies including hundreds of small and medium enterprises also suffered heavy losses. Yesterday, per order of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) the whole of Pampanga and Angeles City including the Clark Freeport were leveled to General Community Quarantine (GCQ). It is expected in the coming months that there will retrenchment in their workforce for it was financially draining for these business houses in the last three months.
To recall, the first casino to be established when Clark was yet an economic zone was the Mimosa Regency Casino initially operated by Jose Antonio Gonzales, aka JAG who was a former secretary of the Department of Tourism during the Cory Aquino administration. Somehow it went to government hands in 1999 following the reported failure of Gonzales to strictly adhere to certain provisions of the lease agreement. Few years later big casinos came in succession. Fontana was established by Filipino-Chinese businessman Robin Tan. Only few years of operation he sold it to Lucio Co of Puregold and much later the whole of the leisure estate was sold to Jimei, a Hongkong company own by Jack Lam.
Taiwanese businessmen built the Midori Hotel and Casino after successful years of operating the Eagle Sky, the first on-line casino operations inside Clark. A Korean businessman by the name of Dae Sik Han started a small operation of Widus casino and grew by leaps and bounds over the years. The late Congressman Carmelo "Tarzan" Lazatin partnered with businessman Damian Ramos and put up Casablanca casino which was later on sold to Chinese businessmen and renamed it Fortune Gate. The latest addition is the Heights Casino at the well developed Sun Valley Golf Club and run by Chairman Lee a very rich businessman from South Korea.
Sportsman and Lubao businessman Rodolfo "Bong" Pineda purchased a bankrupted hotel owned by a Baguio City businessman and renovated it into a four star hotel casino and named it Royce Hotel and Casino. It is the most patronized because it features to Amare an Italian and Mr. Choi Garden, two high end restaurants. Now all these business houses dimmed their lights when the outbreak started. And too bad there's no telling when they can again re-open their doors.
One of the recorded richest men in the country today was the late Henry Sy Sr. His life was an interesting success story. He migrated into the country and started selling shoes in a small store in Carriedo street in Sta. Cruz district in Manila in the fifties and through hardwork and perseverance he made to the top and that store became a conglomerate now managed by his children led by eldest daughter Teresita Sy Coson, Henry Sy Jr. and Hans Sy. The family, for many years now always makes the list among the most moneyed in the world. In the nineties, the family ventured Into casino business. The family is part owner of City of Dreams Hotels and Casino. The Sys expanded their retail empire into banking, power and property businesses and the family elected to join the gaming industry. Casino business is good and a very very profitable business.
Enrique "Ricky" Razon Jr. who is in port terminal operation ventured also in casino business and his casino is raking in the money from the high rollers from Asian gamblers. According to the papers, he is the youngest Filipino to make the list in Forbes richest men in the world. He owns Solaire Hotel Casino which is only few hundred meters away from City of Dreams. There's no business like casino business.