Waterfront Philippines Inc set to move forward with Manila IR plans after Supreme Court confirms …

Philippines gaming operator Waterfront Philippines Inc (WPI) could soon be in possession of a license to develop a new integrated resort in Manila’s Entertainment City precinct after the Supreme Court denied an appeal by gaming regulator PAGCOR against a 2018 decision compelling award of the license.

According to a WPI filing, the company received in October notice from its legal counsels counsels confirming that a Supreme Court decision handed down in February and denying a petition by PAGCOR claiming there had been an error in judgement has now “become final and executory by being recorded in the Book of Entries and Judgements.”

The Supreme Court had in February denied PAGCOR’s petition for certiorari for failure to sufficiently show any reversible error in previous judgements against it by both the Manila Regional Trial Court and the Court of Appeals.

Such judgement appears to have closed the book on a lengthy saga between the two parties which began when Waterfront filed a 2008 application to develop the Grand Waterfront Hotel and Casino and deposited US$100 million in cash, as per casino license requirements stipulated by PAGCOR at the time.

Despite fulfilling all of those requirements, PAGCOR failed to respond, with Waterfront eventually filing a petition in 2015 seeking a resolution.

The Regional Trial Court subsequently ruled in Waterfront’s favor in August 2017, ordering the regulator to act on its license application, with the Court of Appeals supporting that ruling in 2018 and ordering PAGCOR to pay Waterfront Php100,000 in moral damages and Php100,000 in exemplary damages.

The Court of Appeals also made it clear at the time that Waterfront’s license would be “similar to those granted to Resorts World Manila, City of Dreams, Solaire Resort and Casino and Okada Manila.”

There are currently three IRs in the designated gaming zone – Solaire, City of Dreams and Okada Manila – with a fourth, Westside City Resorts World, due to open in 2022.

WPI said Friday that, “The issuance of a casino license will have a favorable effect on WPI’s business or operations once the pandemic is over.”

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