Resorts World Manila 1 Year after Gunman-Arsonist Killed 36
One year after a gunman killed 36 people at Resorts World Manila, the casino is back in business and recording higher revenues than ever. In the year since the attack, Resorts World Manila faced a reckoning with Philippine authorities and made significant changes to the way the casino handles security.
Resorts World Manila carries the brand name of Genting Group, but the casino is actually a joint venture between Phillipine billionaire Andrew Tan (Alliance Global Group) and Genting Group’s Hong Kong division, led by Lim Kok Thay. The joint venture is called Travellers International Hotel Group.
Stephen Reilly, Travelers International’s Chief Operating Officer, said the casino hired world class private security consultants to improve security. Reilly told Forbes Online, “We engaged one of the top private security consultants in the world to undertake a full review of our safety and security protocols.”
“We took their recommendations and put them in place immediately.”
Resorts World Manila Security Improvements
In the wake of the tragedy, PACGOR suspended the casino license for Resorts World Manila. Early reports suggested that security staff either froze in place or fled the scene. Meanwhile, the gunman set on fire parts of the casino. A riot to the exits caused 50 injuries, while smoke inhalation killed 36 more victims.
Weeks later, PACGOR resorted the Manila casino’s license. Business started again and life returned to normal. PACGOR took stock after the incident and decided to review security in all of the Manila-area casino operations.
PACGOR Casino Security Review
The Philippine gaming regulator, which also operates its own gaming operators, discussed its review of casino security: “Pagcor further took precautionary steps by inspecting all its licensed casinos not only in Metro Manila but also those in Clark, Poro Point, and Binangonan.”
“Pagcor took immediate action to avoid occurrence of similar attacks in any casino property, unlike in other jurisdictions where neither gaming nor resort operations were sanctioned after such unfortunate events.”
The review was much-needed, and appears to have been successful. Over the past year, the Philippines has seen a growing wave of terrorism, but no casinos have been attacked. (One casino erupted in fire, resulting in another tragedy.)
Restoring Public Confidence
Matthew Landry, managing director of Strategic Market Advisors, said that the PACGOR review and security improvements were needed to restore public confidence. Landry said, “I believe the public understands that attacks similar to the one at RWM are nearly impossible to prevent 100% of the time.”
An American visitor recently discussed how public relations is involved in the security process. A.G. Burnett, the former chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, recently spoke publicly about his own experiences dealing with public concerns over casino attacks.
Security after Las Vegas Massacre
AG Burnett gave a speech at the recent International Association of Gaming Advisors (IAGA) Summit in Macau. Burnett was still the NGCB’s chairman in the fall of 2017 when Stephen Paddock committed the worst mass murder in modern American history from a 32nd floor balcony of the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
After a massacre which left 58 concert goers dead and another 500 injured, AG Burnett announced to the American public that he had armed personnel in every casino in the Las Vegas area. In fact, it was standard procedure to have security staff armed for such incidents, but the Gaming Control Board felt public confidence needed to be boosted.
Stephen Reilly took a similar approach in the aftermath of the Resorts World Manila attack. Reilly reached out to the casino’s customer base, along with the local Manila public, and told them “things would not only be back to normal, but be better eventually.”
A year onward from the summer 2017 attack, that appears to be the case for Resorts World Manila.