COVID-19 puts International Entertainment Corps PAGCOR partnership on hold

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New Coast Hotel Manila, formerly known as New World Manila Bay Hotel.

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Hong Kong-listed International Entertainment Corp (IEC) says a cooperation agreement that will see it work alongside Philippines gaming regulator PAGCOR in order to gain gaming operations experience has been put on hold until the latest COVID-19 restrictions in Manila are lifted.

The agreement, first announced in July, will see IEC subsidiary Marina Square Properties, Inc (MPSI) form a new management committee comprising four PAGCOR representatives and two from MPSI to jointly run the casino at IECsNew Coast Hotel Manila.

In the meantime, IEC will progress its plans to develop an integrated resort with the company currently on the lookout for an appropriate parcel of land. The cooperation agreement will provide MPSI with the opportunity to participate and accumulate relevant experience in gaming operations prior to issue of a Notice of Commencement by PAGCOR allowing the company to launch casino operations at its new Manila IR, IEC said.

However, IEC revealed on Friday that execution of the agreement has now been postponed until Manilas latest COVID-19 lockdown is eased. Metro Manila was placed under strict Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) measures for two weeks from 6 to 20 August to control the current outbreak and there is talk those measures will be extended further with daily cases numbers in the Philippines having doubled in the past month to more than 10,000.

Among the requirements under ECQ is for all casinos to suspend operations.

Metro Manila is currently under strict shelter-at-home restrictions, IEC said. Given the Restrictions, the execution of the Cooperation Agreement between MSPI and PAGCOR is required to be postponed until the release of the Restrictions.

The cooperation agreement will also see IEC provide office space for PAGCORs headquarters and general offices.