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The Philippines Amusement and Gaming Company (PAGCOR) is turning to innovative solutions to bring people back to the poker table, releasing a new memo enabling players to increase their seats at a poker table.
The 8 February memo amends the of Health and Safety Standards for the Resumption of Operations at Gaming Sites.
Increased table occupation
The new guidelines for operators across the Philippines permit the number of players to be seated at poker tables to increase. While no new limit is specified, a handful of steps operators can take to get as many people as they can at the table are laid out in the memo.
Most of these will be surprising to those watching what other regions have gained from introducing, notably American operators. Players must always be at least 1 meter apart and wear personal protective equipment, including masks and face shields, but acrylic walls and barriers between each seating location can now be constructed by operators.
Customised poker tables
In its second paragraph, the memo notes: “Poker Operators shall be allowed to refurbish, widen and/or customise their poker tables accordingly to further increase its seating capacity subject to the same conditions above, including assembling at maximum two (2) existing poker tables into one to form a larger single poker table that shall count as one active table.”
Although the Covid-19 pandemic is still evolving, the move is a crucial one to get the poker industry back into gear. Although PAGCOR has considered the online casino idea of Liveshots to get back VIP casino players and online cockfighting to help save some of their own revenues, until now, the nation has had no strategy to get poker players back to the table. Given that Manila has hundreds of poker clubs and hosts the Asian Poker Tour (APT), it accounts for a large chunk of revenue.