Philippine Casinos in Manila Keep Gambling Despite Taal Volcanic Ash Threat

Advika KocharAdvika Kochar

Despite the Taal volcanic eruption and the Philippines remaining on high alert, casinos in the capital of Manila have remained open despite the Manila airport closing, which provides the booming gambling district – known as Entertainment City – with a constant influx of Chinese gamblers.

Philippine Casinos in Manila Keep Gambling Despite Taal Volcanic Ash Threat Element 01 - CasinoTopWith dozens of aircraft being grounded and many covered in ash – reports suggested that as many as 500 flights had been cancelled as a result of the volcanic ash spewing from the Taal volcano.

The explosive eruption of Taal has displaced upwards of 40,000 villagers from the volcano – which is situated approximately 72 kilometres south of the special economic zone “Entertainment City” in Bay City, Manila.

Home to many of the Philippines biggest casinos, this gambling area is only a few kilometres from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Manila International Airport).

Aviation authorities continue to monitor the situation and will permit some aircraft for departure once it was confirmed that they had been cleaned of ash, and on the basis that no westerly wind was blowing ash towards Manila.

General manager of Manila International Airport updated the media on Monday at a press conference, saying that scheduled incoming aircraft were still facing delays and cancellations due to the lack of parking space available at the airport.

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Small But Dangerous Volcano

While the Philippines and the world continue to watch on as the country remains at an alert level of four from a maximum five, with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PIVS) warning that “hazardous eruption” could happen at any moment.

The dormant Taal volcano roared to life on Sunday this past week, erupting a collection of steam, ash, and rock 15 kilometres into the sky.

Authorities at PIVS said that there had been no reports of fatalities yet; however, there were 40,000 locals who have been displaced.

Although the volcano was rather small, scientists at PIVS have issued warnings to give proper respect to this very dangerous, and unique volcano.

Head of PIVS, Renato Solidum was interviewed by The Guardian and spoke of the unique characteristics that make the volcano so deadly:

“Taal is positioned on an island within Lake Taal in the Batangas Province. It is unique because it is a volcano within a volcano.”

Solidum went on to say that lava was spewing out from the vents which had opened on Taal and were falling into the lake.

He went on further to say that it is possible that a further eruption could trigger a tsunami in the lake given the complexity of the situation.

Gambling Industry Thriving in the Philippines

Philippine Casinos in Manila Keep Gambling Despite Taal Volcanic Ash Threat Element 02 - CasinoTopCasino gaming is very much alive and kicking throughout the multi-billion-dollar casino resorts of Entertainment City.

The total gross gaming revenue experienced a year-over-year increase of 20.8% or $1.09 billion (₹77.2 billion) in the third quarter of 2019.

The success being experienced in Manila is widely considered a result of the boom in VIP players as casino touring groups catering to VIP and high rollers see tremendous growth.

The likely cause of the growth of VIP play in Manila is the increased suppression of the Macau gambling industry.

It appears that there is no slowing down for the Philippines casino gambling market with a fifth large casino resort in the works for the city.

Only Taal could slow the growth, but even volcanic ash hasn’t affected to date.