Philippine gaming regulator to investigate physical takeover of Manila casino
The Supreme Court of the Philippines ruled in April that Kazuo Okada could once again run Okada Manila’s integrated casino as head of its operator Tiger Resorts, a position from which he was ousted in 2017 on suspicion of embezzling $3 million. .
But Tiger Resorts appealed the Supreme Court’s decision and refused to vacate pending a decision on its appeal.
Okada Manila went public in the United States in 2021 through a merger with blank check company 26 Capital Acquisition Corp in a deal valued at $2.5 billion.
Estrella Elamparo, legal counsel for Tiger Resorts, said the May 31 takeover was “unlawful and violent”, saying Okada’s team took the physical premises “by force”.
Video shared by Tiger Resorts with local broadcaster ANC showed physical skirmishes and verbal confrontations as guards and police escorted casino staff out of a dark meeting room at the scene.
The Manila South Police District Office said 37 officers provided assistance to implement the Supreme Court order.
Okada and his Filipino partners did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The gambling regulator’s board will meet on Wednesday to discuss the investigation into the incident and ensure the smooth running of the casino, agency chairman Alfredo Lim told Reuters.
“I was shocked to read that there was violence and intimidation,” Lim said.
The 44-hectare (108-acre) Okada Manila, located next to Manila Bay, features 993 suites and villas, 500 table games and 3,000 electronic game machines.
(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor)