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Business trends

Philippine casino operator Okada Manila lays off over 1,000 staff

Lockdown has led to 'severe' losses, company argues

The luxury Philippine hotel and casino has announced staff cuts of over 10% of its workforce.   © AFP/Jiji

MANILA -- Philippine integrated resort and casino Okada Manila will retrench more than 1,000 employees next month, citing severe losses triggered by the ongoing coronavirus lockdown.

Okada, along with other casinos in the country, has been closed since mid-March as part of efforts to prevent the spread of the virus known as COVID-19.

"Not having any revenue since the lockdown has been financially draining and caused severe losses to the company, and if this is not addressed, its losses will pile up," company President Takashi Oya said in a letter to staff on Tuesday.

The Philippines is weighing whether to relax the lockdown and reopen the economy starting in June. But under the "new normal" rules, the casino business will require "a smaller workforce," Oya said.

Okada said those staff to be laid off will be notified by June 15, and will be given severance pay in accordance with the law.

Okada Manila has over 10,000 staff, according to its corporate office. The integrated resort is run by Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment, a unit of Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada's Universal Entertainment.

Okada Manila competes with Solaire resort and casino of Philippine ports billionaire Enrique Razon, City of Dreams Manila and Resorts World Manila.

Casino employees interviewed by Nikkei Asian Review last week said their companies have advanced their 13th month pay and other monetary benefits to help them cope with the lockdown.

One employee said they are bracing for the possibility of reduced work shifts and pay once operations resume.

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