Thursday, December 02, 2021

Sangil: The casinos in Clark Freeport

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NOW that the pandemic seemingly cascading so fast and life will settle in the normal level, we can expect visitors queuing to the casinos. Before the pandemic, I used to make weekend trips to Metro Manila and always in search of luck on their electronic bandits, the slot machines. (Btw. I am only small time bettor and only while my time just like those many seniors enjoying moments while hoping to hit it big). The City of Dreams of the Sy family, Solaire of Ricky Razon and Okada, which Tony Boy Cojuangco is a co-owner, can compare in elegance like those you can find in Las Vegas or in Macao. Now, too big casinos in Clark Freeport, the one adjacent to Royce Hotel Casino and the other one near Widus Casino may open next year.

Now, I don’t have to travel to Manila because there are several casinos in Clark Freeport which may not compare in every aspect with those big three casinos I mentioned. Their proximity what I highly consider. There is another problem though. These casinos are not properly managed. Like Widus and Midori there are hundreds of hiccups I can pinpoint which are terribly wrong. They are grossly mismanaged to say the least. They restrict players of freebies like food and drinks. “Napakuripot ng Widus,” claimed several players. The management believes everything is okay because each day the winnings which are penciled blue are reflected on the bottom line figures every end of the month. It is an endless stream of money.

High life. Big stakes. Top entertainment. The danger lies when people can no longer control their addiction to gambling. Some don't only lost their shirts, so to speak, but loses dear life, in the case of someone who made a killing spree in Resort World casino few years back.

Remember? Don’t be afraid to go the casinos if you can afford it, and if you have discipline. There are two reasons why gamblers lost their shirts. First, they don't know how to bet. (Meaning, they control their bettings, when the house is having a down streak, and bet more when the house is lucky). Second, most players are always victims of their own greed. (They don't quit despite having sizeable winnings, thinking they can have more only to discover later they lost everything including their capital).

Retro: Casino gambling was introduced by Ted Lewin, an American expat sometime in the fifties. Towards the sixties and seventies the Dewey Boulevard, now Roxas Boulevard, was dotted by casinos. They were strategically located along with the famous night clubs like Bayside, Bulakena and Amihan. The big casinos then were Continental, Ambassador, Chrysantemum, La Sirena and few more others. Some of the operators were Nicanor “Junior” De Guzman, Carlos Magdaluyo, Ramon Joveros and Rodolfo Ilustre.

A lawyer from Magalang, Atty. Rogelio Z. Bangsil started his casino business in Olongapo city and expanded in Angeles City in the early seventies. He established Manor Casino when he acquired initially as leased Marisol Manor Hotel in Marisol Subdivision. The group of the late Trinidad Lazatin established Kontiki Casino along the Macarthur Highway in Barangay Sto. Cristo. The late Eddie Antonio operated the Oasis Casino at the Oasis Hotel and the late Rod Feliciano operated the Skyline Casino in Barangay Malabanas. All these casinos ceased operation when then President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law. And including those in Dewey Boulevard.

The Philippine Amusement Gaming Corporation is a state owned gambling corporation established during the time of the late President Corazon Aquino. Her relatives and friends changed in leadership in running PAGCOR. And behind all these appointments was her brother, former Congressman Jose “Peping” Cojuangco. Initially it didn't make good, till the appointment of Alice Reyes as chair and retired air force General Romy David. During their watch, PAGCOR started making billions. It also started expanding to other cities in the country, including the two Pagcor-run casinos in Clark Freeport and Balibago in Angeles City. Pagcor casinos are poorly run. Sorry to say that.


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