Philippines: Business district halts new online casino permits

Makati City has declared a moratorium on new online casinos in the Philippines’ main business district, citing an “overheating” leasing market and rising criminality. The city will no longer accept new applications for online casinos known as Philippine offshore gaming operators, or POGOs, and will crack down against illegal activities related to the industry, Makati City Mayor Abby Binay said in a statement. Thousands of foreign workers employed by POGOs have increased the demand for homes and work stations for rent. “This puts the local property sector at risk of overheating, where its growth becomes unsustainable,” Binay said. Makati, home to as many as 300 POGOs that mainly employ Chinese nationals, has been earning more than 200 million pesos a year in local business taxes from the industry, she said.

Las Vegas: Reuben brothers help finance Rio Casino acquisition

Billionaire British property investors David Reuben and Simon Reuben have helped finance Dreamscape Cos.’ acquisition of Las Vegas property Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino from Caesars Entertainment Corp. “We’re believers in Las Vegas and its future,” the brothers said last week in an emailed statement. Dreamscape, owned by New York-based real estate investor Eric Birnbaum, completed the $516.3 million transaction this week and plans to renovate the 2,522-room hotel and casino, home to the World Series of Poker. “The property has untapped potential and our unique perspective on the Las Vegas market will ideally differentiate us from the masses and cater to a new generation,” Birnbaum said in an interview. He added that consumer preferences have changed in the past two decades but that many casino resort operators haven’t been responsive.

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