The Supreme Court of the Philippines agreed with the operator Waterfront Philippines Inc. in its legal battle against the fight against Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
The Philippine gaming regulator and the operator had a 12-year legal dispute related to the alleged breach of gaming license application requirements by Waterfront Philippines Inc. But eventually, PAGCOR will have to issue the license to the operator.
Three years ago the court prohibited PAGCOR from attempting to block the operator’s license. The regulator did not accept the ruling, appealed and again lost in december 2018. However, PAGCOR tried again and the Philippine Court of Appeals denied the request in strict accordance with the previous ruling.
The gambling operator then decided to take the case to the Supreme Court, which ruled in february of this year. Again PAGCOR challenged the decision and claimed that the high court made an error in the judgment. But again the Supreme Court ruled against the regulator in october and concluded that this was the “final and enforceable decision as it was recorded in the Book of Entries and Sentences.”
In this way PAGCOR can no longer refuse to issue the gaming license to Waterfront. The company made a deposit of $ 100 million for the license, while PAGCOR issued licenses to four other properties: Okada Manila, City of Dreams, Solaire Resort and Casino, and Resorts World Manila (RWM).
Of these, the RWM operator is the only one that is not within Entertainment City. And Westside City Resorts World, the other property, will launch before Waterfront can open.
During the lengthy trial, the Philippine courts had ordered PAGCOR to pay Waterfront some $ 4,000 in damages, a derisory figure compared to the operator’s expenses in attorney fees and license fee deposit fees.
Now after being tied hands to operate for so long and the economic situation of the country and the company derived from the pandemic, the company may have to reconsider when to open.
In a statement issued last week, the operator noted that the court decision and the eminent issuance of the gaming license “will have a favorable effect on WPI’s business or operations once the pandemic is over.”
The problems with PAGCOR have not been the only ones that Waterfront has had in recent years. Their finances have been at precarious levels, having defaulted in 2003 on a loan that ended in a judgment that cost it $ 16 million. Although the ruling was overturned by a judge several years ago, last year it was reinstated, shaking the financial support of the company.