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Old June 4th, 2010, 02:38 AM   #121
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Originally Posted by RonnieR View Post
Cruel sport? Every day, there is cockfighting here in towns, provinces and cities whether small time, pintakasi, international cockfighting at Araneta Coliseum with millions of pesos exchanging among the bettors. I don't like it but we get this from our former colonial master - Spain.
Cockfighting is typically Filipino. Spain and other Hispanic countries have bull fighting. I agree that both are cruel sports.

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Old June 4th, 2010, 06:34 AM   #122
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Originally Posted by Askal82 View Post
Cockfighting is typically Filipino. Spain and other Hispanic countries have bull fighting. I agree that both are cruel sports.
You mean even before the Spaniards came, cockfighting was known to Filipinos?

I read somewhere that in 1950s Manila, there was bull fighting at Rizal Stadium....

I found the article.
Bulls in Manila
CITY SENSE By Paulo Alcazaren (The Philippine Star) Updated January 24, 2009 12:00 AM

Gong Xi Fa Cai! It’s the Year of the Ox/Bull. The Chinese New Year brings with it a hope that, because it is the year of the bull, the local and global economies take a turn for the better.

Some say, of course, that there are no bulls in Manila. That may be true, now that animal-drawn transport is long gone, but a century ago Manila was the sight of carabao-pulled carts (our version of the Chinese ox) and the spectacle of regular bullfights. A book on the Philippines, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Cuba compiled by Trumbull (that’s his real name) White published in 1898 entitled Our New Possessions reports:

“The sports of Manila are materially different from those to which we are accustomed, for their favorites have been bull-fighting and ****-fighting. The bullring in Manila, in the suburb of Paco, draws great crowds when the entertainment is offered, in spite of the fact that the performances are by no means spirited. Neither Spanish bullfighters nor Spanish bulls are brought to the island, so that native talent has to be obtained for both roles. The bulls are timid and lazy, the bull-fighters are little better so that the traveler does not see bullfighting of the same sort that he would in Spain, Cuba or Mexico.”

Another account in a separate book published in the same year was written by Trumbull’s fellow American Joseph Earle Stevens. His account covered a deviant form of animal-based entertainment held early that year in the February chill that ran a nippy 74 degrees Fahrenheit. He reported an event proclaimed in posters all around the city as “Struggle between wild beasts — grand fight to the death between full-bloodied Spanish bull, and royal Bengal tiger, direct from the jungles of India.”

Stevens’s account noted that this “queer…and not altogether edifying” show was to be held in the rice fields of Paco, east of the chic Ermita district. It was to be the last event before the bullring closed and was the buzz of Manila. “For days before the show came off, conversation in the cafes along the Escolta invariably turned to the subject of the coming exhibition, and it was evident that the managers fully intended to both reap a large harvest of heavy dollars and to wind up the career of the bull-ring association in a blaze of blood and glory.”

The fight was held on a Sunday, which found “…everybody directing his steps toward the wooden structure (made of) a lot of rickety seats piled around a circular arena. The reserved sections were covered with a light roof, to keep off the afternoon sun, but the bleaching boards for those that held only billetes del sol were exposed to the blinding glare. The audience, a crowd of 3,000 persons, with dark faces showing above suits of white sheeting, found the center of the ring ornamented with a huge iron cage …while off to the sides were smaller cages containing the fieras or wild beasts.”

There was a front act before the main event, an exhibition of panthers and in their midst a man in pink tights who ate dinner calmly on a makeshift table. The panthers did not take an interest on the man or his dinner (the tights probably threw them off) so a deer was introduced into the cage. The delicacy didn’t do much to budge the panthers despite prodding from their trainers. The crowd hissed their disapproval so the main event got underway.

“The great shouts of El toro! El toro! arose, as off at the small gate …appeared the bull, calmly walking forward, under the guidance of two natives, who didn’t wear any shoes. And renewed applause arose, as the small, heavy cage containing the royal Bengal tiger was rolled up to a sliding door …a bunch of firecrackers was set off...and the great Indian cat rushed forth and tried to swallow a man who was standing outside the bars…the bull stood quietly in one corner wagging his tail, and after blinking his eyes once or twice, proceeded to examine his antagonist, in almost a friendly spirit. In fact, there seemed to be no hard feelings at all between the two beasts, and the tiger only wanted to get at the man …the audience howled, jeered at the tiger, bet on the bull and criticized the man …as he gave the tiger several hard pokes in the ribs (with his pitchfork). This served to anger the beast so that he finally did make a dive for the bull, and promptly found himself tossed into the air. But as he came down, he hung on to the bull’s nose, and dug his claws into the tough hide.”

Let me spare you the rest of the gory account. Also, the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) might get on my case for glorifying this blood sport. The group actually was successful in blocking a comeback for the sport here in 1999. The bullring of 1898 was indeed torn down. I find little indication of the facility or the sport in maps or accounts of the next few decades. Cockfighting and jai alai took over from then until the war.

The 1950s, however, brought back one more appearance of the bullring and bullfighting. This was during and after the 1953 Manila International Fair (which I featured before). The sunken gardens right outside the walls of Intramuros and opposite the old Congress (now the National Museum) were the site of the spectacle. The bulls and matadors this time came from Spain. It were a big hit and continued after the fair. The events brought the cream of society with ladies in their Sunday best. The fact that it was in front of the Legislative Building made it a favorite with congressmen and senators, despite the fact that Philippine politics was a bloodier sport.

Today little is heard of the sport of the matador. The term is now used only by men working in our stinking abattoirs. Filipinos still love their blood sport; with cockfighting and Pacquiao the main draws.

Year 2009 is the Year of the Bull. With the animal’s return, everyone is hoping to reap as much profit as Pacquiao has in his last few fights. One has to remember though that Pacquiao had to really work hard, train long and suffer real punishment to get to the point of victory. Are we really willing to fight the good fight? Or are we just willing to take all the bull our leaders are giving us? Have we not had enough? (Punong, puno na ba kayo?)

The Year of the Bull means that we will only progress and profit through honest hard work. Let’s get on with it.

Last edited by RonnieR; June 4th, 2010 at 06:40 AM.
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Old June 15th, 2010, 11:16 AM   #123
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Stop casino openings, bishops urge Aquino By Tarra Quismundo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:31:00 06/15/2010

MANILA, Philippines—Catholic bishops Monday called on President-elect Benigno Aquino III to put a stop to the outgoing administration’s plan to open more casinos around the country, stressing that gambling “destroys families and corrupts people.”

In a pastoral letter released Monday, Archbishop Socrates Villegas and six bishops from the Lingayen-Dagupan archdiocese urged the incoming President to stop the planned opening of two new casinos in Urdaneta City in Pangasinan and San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija.

“If it is not legally possible to close all casinos immediately, we plead with the government not to open new ones,” the bishops said.

“We appeal to the government to aggressively fight corruption and diminish poverty. One of the first steps the government must take is to stop the opening of more casinos,” the letter said.

Bishops Jacinto Jose (Urdaneta), Mylo Hubert Vergara (San Jose), Artemio Rillera (San Fernando), Marlo Peralta (Alaminos), Sofronio Bancud (Cabanatuan) and Renato Mayugba (Lingayen-Dagupan auxiliary) signed the letter dated June 14.

“The right step is values education for the children and livelihood opportunities for the poor. Opening another casino—in Urdaneta and San Leonardo or in any other place—is a step deviating from our vision,” the prelates said.

The church leaders said they were counting on Aquino’s battle cry during the campaign against poverty and corruption.

Gambling would aggravate both problems, they said, as casinos would “open more doors for corruption” and lead to “the impoverishment of the families of gamblers.”

“Where the casinos operate now we see the ill effects on the socio-moral fiber of the citizenry—the rise of criminality, the spread of prostitution and the shameless corruption of those engaged in the business,” they said.

“We appeal to the government to aggressively fight corruption and diminish poverty. One of the first steps the government must take is to stop the opening of more casinos,” the prelates said.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), which operates the casinos in the Philippines, is one of the top revenue-generating corporations of the government. It provides the multibillion-peso Presidential Social Fund.

Casinos, Pagcor officials had said, provide many jobs and serve as a magnet for tourism and foreign investments. Casinos and other leisure facilities are standard in most cities of the world.
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Old June 15th, 2010, 11:28 AM   #124
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The hypocrites. Gambling or casinos already exist long long time ago....The church even gets money/donation from PAGCOR thru social projects
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Old June 16th, 2010, 01:42 PM   #125
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These b**ches need some divine intervention from their buffoonery! What part of "separation of church and state" do they fail to comprehend???
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Old June 16th, 2010, 10:35 PM   #126
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I'm a catholic but this is pure bullocks. Like makakalaro din kaya ang mga mahihirap sa casino? Don't they know the word discipline? Of course not all gamblers will just throw more and more greens. Ako nga kung magtaya sa lotto hindi naman masyadong frequent (hell minsan tinatamad ako), hindi palaging malaki ang tinataya at tataya lang ako kung malaki na ang jackpot. And they should remember that the likes of PAGCOR and PCSO uses their profit for charity and not for themselves only.
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Old July 6th, 2010, 04:15 AM   #127
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Originally Posted by DCRJ View Post
Genuino eyed as head of gambling megacity?
POSTSCRIPT By Federico D. Pascual Jr. (The Philippine Star) Updated July 06, 2010 12:00 AM

CASH COW: How can anyone hide the fact that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. under former chairman Efraim Genuino was one of the fattest cash cows in the Arroyo barn?

Pagcor apologists better stop blubbering about how Genuino and his boys allegedly watched solicitously over the billions being raked in by the giant gambling machine. Even amateur sleuths will find it easy destroying that claim.

If I were President Noynoy Aquino, after accepting Genuino’s resignation, I would order an independent team to deep-audit his handling of Pagcor funds and resources. A lifestyle check could follow.

To cauterize the cancer in Pagcor, a reformist President should reject self-serving suggestions that Genuino be retained to manage the global gambling city proposed to be built in the reclaimed area by the bay.

* * *

PROBE PAGCOR: “Kung walang corrupt walang mahirap,” went the campaign slogan of Noynoy. He said the obvious — that bureaucratic corruption is at the root of poverty in the country.

Too often, public funds that should go to essential services and alleviate poverty sink instead into the pockets of corrupt officials.

In Pagcor, for instance, millions were reportedly used in the election campaign of individual candidates and party-lists. The misappropriation was so blatant that one would think official conscience has been raped on the gambling table.

If the Commission on Elections wants to launder its image and display a burst of cleansing, it can start a no-nonsense inquiry into the campaign spending in Makati and Los Banos where Pagcor funds and resources were reportedly used.

* * *

SKIMMING: Defenders of Genuino love to point out that the firm’s earnings are allocated to specific beneficiaries identified by law, and that therefore there could not be any diversion.

But friends from Las Vegas and others who have worked in casinos for decades say that one basic racket is in “skimming,” and not really in the distribution of the visible revenues in a manner dictated by law.

Skimming works this way: If casino earnings were like milk being poured into a glass, whatever is contained in it is the visible revenue that will be reported in the books subject to lawful distribution.

What remains unreported is the excess milk that rises above the glass rim and sometimes overflows. That rich lather on top is skimmed, remains unreported, and then is sucked by the usual leeches.

* * *

COLLUSION: This is not to say that Pagcor or Genuino was engaged in skimming. The practice is mentioned only to illustrate that skimming is possible, as it is widely practised in the casino-gambling world.

If President Aquino is sincere in his cleanup, he can start reforms in Pagcor by looking into this possible malpractice.

Theoretically, this and other anomalies — even in biddings and the procurement of goods and services — can be exposed or prevented if the in-house auditor does his job with fidelity.

Collusion stories have it that if an agency wants to buy a fleet of cars, for instance, one way to expedite the purchase is to promise a vehicle to the auditor or his beneficiary. If a junket is in the works, the auditor or his alter-ego must be on board. Et cetera.

* * *

COFFEE CORNER: You think coffee is minor business? A concessionaire serving the brew in Pagcor casinos was noticed to be making easy millions on a little coffee-cream-sugar mix and a lot of water.

What happened, according to insiders, was that the concessionaire’s contract was not renewed. Before he knew what hit him, his thriving business was taken over by a new outfit whose true ownership and profit-sharing scheme remain suspect.

You think playing cards is child’s play? Insiders tell us that the incoming chairman will find himself buried in tons of playing cards already ordered to last Pagcor the next six years. Now, you may want to count also the slot machines....

Or count the playing chips that are issued everyday. Chips are money. Their flow is just as difficult to monitor since nobody knows for sure if the player holding them actually lost, multiplied or encashed them.

* * *

BIG BOSS: Business must be so good that Genuino was reportedly able to share profitable gambling tables with friends.

Until now, insiders are unable to understand why Genuino allowed favored parties to operate gaming tables right inside casino premises — directly competing with Pagcor.

Big question is how much earnest money is being paid, and to whom, by these non-Pagcor operators.

In an attempt to justify money-making tricks in Pagcor, some of its defenders whisper that money is being raised for the Big Boss issuing instructions from beside the Pasig river.

That is not an extenuating element, assuming it is true. It might even be aggravating circumstance.

* * *

BIDA BID: What ever happened to the case of the BIDA party-list? Pagcor money was reportedly used in the organizing and the campaign of BIDA, represented as an anti-drug abuse organization.

Even if only one peso were spent for BIDA, the party-list and its nominees — whose link to Genuino or Pagcor is well known — should be disqualified by the Comelec. Using public money for private gain should not be rewarded.

It is also a case of false advertising. When Genuino was planning to run for president (!) he organized a BIDA march on Roxas Blvd. last year targeting a million warm bodies, including then President Arroyo (who backed out when she sensed something amiss).

No one million marchers were counted by the Guinness Book of Records. Yet the Genuino ads claimed to have gathered some 800,000 participants. Even that adjusted figure is wrong. Guinness said there were only some 350,000.

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Old July 7th, 2010, 05:01 AM   #128
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SC junks Pagcor’s petition to nullify casino contract

Wednesday, 07 July 2010 00:00
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The Supreme Court (SC) has denied for lack of merit a petition for review filed by state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) seeking to nullify a contract it had entered into with Fontana Development Corp. (FDC). The contract granted Fontana the authority to operate a casino inside the Clark Special Economic Zone (CSEZ) in Pampanga province, north of Manila.

The High Court, in a 19-page decision written by Senior Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr., upheld the validity of the December 23, 1999 memorandum of agreement (MOA) between Pagcor and FDC, saying that there was no legal basis to nullify or recall the same.

“There is no infirmity in the MOA, as it was validly entered into by Pagcor under its charter, PD [Presidential Decree] 1869, and remains valid until legally terminated in accordance with the MOA,” the court ruled.

It said, “As parties to the MOA, FDC and Pagcor bound themselves to all its provisions. After all, the terms of a contract have the force of law between the parties, and courts have no choice but to enforce such contract so long as they are not contrary to law, morals, good customs or public policy. A stipulation for the term or period for the effectively of the MOA to [end when] the term of the franchise of Pagcor [does] including any extension is not contrary to law, morals, good customs or public policy.”

The High Court ruling affirmed the May 19, 2009 decision of the Court of Appeals that upheld the November 18, 2008 and December 4, 2008 orders of Branch 7 of the Regional Trial (RTC) Court of Manila.

The Manila RTC orders denied Pagcor’s motion to dismiss and granted the petition of FDC for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO).

The Supreme Court ruling also made permanent a writ of injunction issued on February 25, 2009 by the Manila RTC.

In 1993, then President Fidel Ramos issued Executive Order 80 which, among others, gives the CSEZ the same incentives granted to Subic Bay Special Economic Zone.

In 1999, Pagcor granted FDC the authority to operate and maintain a casino inside the CSEZ under the agreement.

In 2007, Republic Act (RA) 9487 was enacted extending Pagcor’s franchise up to July 10, 2033 renewable for another 25 years.

The following year, Pagcor informed FDC that it was extending the memorandum on a month-to-month basis until the finalization of the renewal of the contract.

FDC protested and subsequently filed before the Manila RTC the complaint for injunction.

The Supreme Court ruled that PD 1869 empowers Pagcor to regulate and control all games of chance within the Philippines and, clearly, RA 7227 (SBMA’s charter), or EO 80 cannot be the source of its powers, but its basic charter, PD 1869.

It pointed out that Pagcor’s issuance of the 10-year SAO in lieu of the MOA with FDC was a breach of the MOA.

The High Tribunal ruled that the memorandum was a valid contract with all the essential elements required under the Civil Code.

Pagcor and FDC, it said, are thus bound by the stipulations of the MOA, subject to Pagcor’s regulatory powers.

Contrary to the Pagcor’s claims, the High Tribunal held that the Manila RTC has jurisdiction over FDC’s complaint under Section 19, Chapter II of Batas Pambansa 129, which grants the RTCs original exclusive jurisdiction over “all civil actions in which the subject of the litigation is incapable of pecuniary estimation.”

Moreover, the RTCs shall exercise original jurisdiction “in the issuance of writs of certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus and injunction which may be enforced in any part of their respective regions” under Section 21 of Batas Pambansa 129.

In its exercise of its broad discretionary power, the Supreme Court also resolved FDC’s complaints on the merits, instead of remanding the complaints to the trial court for further proceedings.

It noted that the dispute was purely a question of law, whether the license or MOA was issued pursuant to PD 1869 or Section 5 of EO 80.
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Old July 12th, 2010, 10:07 AM   #129
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Pagcor licensee to expand abroad

Monday, 12 July 2010 00:00
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PHILWEB Corp. said it plans to expand its operation in at least eight countries after it registered a sharp increase in net income for the first six months of the year. “We have been focusing on our international expansion strategy. We are working to obtain licenses in Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Saipan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, East Timor, Nepal and others,” Dennis Valdes, Philweb president said in a statement.

The company recorded a net income of P322 million in the January to June period, 41 percent higher than the P228 million for the same period last year.

Revenues reached P508 million, up 40 percent year on year from P362 million in the first six months of last year.

Valdes attributed the company’s financial results to strong growth in its core business units, as well as several new projects that it launched recently.

“Our core business is managing the network of Pagcor’s e-Games or PEGS cafés,” said Valdes, referring to state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.

At present, the company has 188 stores nationwide, a double-digit increase from year.

Valdes said the PEGS business is instrumental to the growth of Pagcor itself.

”Last year, we contributed over one billion pesos to Pagcor from our PEGS business alone. This amount flows directly to Pagcor’s net income, as they do not have any capital expenditures or operating costs associated with this revenue,” the Philweb executive said.

As of June, the PEGS business alone has remitted over P600 million to Pagcor for a growth rate of 33 percent, Valdes said.

“We are confident that 2010 will be another banner year for PhilWeb and are happy that the results of the first half show that our business plans are progressing very solidly,” he said.

Philweb shares were flat at P15 on Friday.
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Old July 15th, 2010, 10:20 PM   #130
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Gaming is competitive tourism
Based on purely economic grounds, there may be no way the Philippines can compete in the gaming-tourism business. How can a poor country compete with Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea and Macao, the gambling capital in this part of the world?

Nevertheless, the Philippines is trying and hopes to attract a bigger share of the 15 million Chinese who go on tours yearly, many of whom are gamblers.

A newcomer in the gaming business, who will start operations after his building is completed in two years, said the Philippines has an advantage not available in the richer countries where gaming is also combined with tourism.

Are there beaches in Singapore, in Japan or in any of the other gaming countries? There are a few, he said.

"But which country has so many beach resorts?" Only the Philippines, he answered his own question.

He said Boracay alone is a major attraction.

The gaming operation of Andrew Tan of Megaworld fame is already in operation near Terminal III of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport

Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. has licensed three more: SM of Henry Sy, Bloomberry of Enrique Razon of ICTSI and Aruze of Japan. They pay 25 per cent of their gross revenues to Pagcor.

There is a wide perception that Pagcor, a virtual monopoly, will eventually lose its clientele to its franchisee, but it will continue to make huge incomes without the current cost.

According to a spokesman of Bloomberry, roughly 50 percent of the revenues of a gaming firm come from slot machines. He pointed out that the world-wide average pay-out of slot machines is 94 to 96 centavos for every peso gambled.

The operator or owner is left with what seems to be a reasonably small gross margin of 6 percent or six centavos for every peso risked at the slot machines. "There is still good money left as profits," he said.

The strategy as far as slot machines are concerned is to attract as many players as possible. In some cases, especially on a holiday, nearly all the machines in some Pagcor operations are occupied, he said.

He guessed that an estimated additional 15,000 relatively poor Filipinos will be attracted to the machines of the new casinos.

The high-rollers will be playing in the new gaming hotels. That could well mean Pagcor might lose a big portion of its foreign clientele but would make profits from its four licensees.

Bloomberry will build a hotel of 1,200 rooms in two phases. The first phase is for 500 rooms. The next is for 700 rooms. The spokesman said the rates will be competitive with the prices in the hotels of its competitors in neighboring countries. The resort gaming operations of Andrew Tan have three hotels with about the same number of rooms.

The preference for gaming, according to a respected businessman, is "a self-adjusting mechanism" in an economy where manufacturing does not seem to grow at all.

The little manufacturing left is mostly light. This is indicated by the figures of the Bangko Sentral which show that the importation of capital assets in the past years grew by an average of slightly more than 10 per cent while imports of consumer goods grew by more than 21 per cent.

The problem, the businessman said, is a possible slowdown in the creation of jobs since the biggest provider of work is the manufacturing sector.

This is one of the reasons why about one-third of Filipino employed labor is abroad in various jobs, from law or medicine to construction and household service. In extreme cases, some Filipino women are forced into prostitution in Japan.

Gaming cum tourism or vice versa can create better-paying jobs in the hundreds of thousands, including those in the ancillary service, said the spokesman of Bloomberry.

Macao survives mainly on gaming. So does Las Vegas in the state of Nevada. They do not have the tourist attractions remotely similar to those in the Philippines. Neither does Singapore. Neither does South Korea.

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Old July 22nd, 2010, 04:30 AM   #131
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PAGCOR to review mobile casinos
by Jing Castañeda, ABS-CBN News
Posted at 07/22/2010 1:16 AM | Updated as of 07/22/2010 1:16 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The new management of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) is alarmed after learning of the proliferation of various mobile casinos in different parts of the country.

This includes the mobile casino in Olongapo City, which is housed in 10- and 20-foot container vans.

Here, Filipinos and foreigners alike can play PAGCOR E-Games like video poker, video blackjack, baccarat, and other internet card games. People can also play online slot machines.

PAGCOR said there are a total of 167 PAGCOR E-Games or internet gaming centers around the country. They will now investigate how many of these are mobile casinos.

Since the mobile casinos are housed in container vans, PAGCOR is worried that the casinos can easily be transported to different areas.

This is despite the fact that the locations of casinos are strictly regulated.

They are also worried that children could gain access to the casino.

"[Ang aim ay] maging world class, at hindi iyong parang lokasyon lamang kung saan kahit sino puwede nang maglaro [o] magsugal," Atty. Jay Santiago, PAGCOR spokesperson, said.

An e-games operator should also show proof that the community where the gaming center will be located agrees to the presence of a gambling center in their area.

"'Yong casino o 'yong mga gaming establishments, should really be just part of an attraction of a tourism facility or a tourism area. Hindi ito iyong main attraction, kung hindi isa lang sa mga attraction," he said.

This is what angers church leaders in Nueva Ecija.

They said a casino was put up in the municipality of San Leonardo without their approval.

They are now appealing to the new government to put a stop to the casino's opening.

"Farming and poultry raising mainly ang San Leonardo... iyong intended na clientele noong casino ay mainly wala - walang turista na pupunta," Cabanatuan diocese chancellor Fr. Noel Jetajobe said.

Both Malacañang and PAGCOR said they are currently studying the state of the gaming industry in the country to see how it can exist without sacrificing the people's welfare.

To this end, PAGCOR added, they are now re-evaluating the gaming licenses issued by the previous administration to make sure the interest of the people are protected.
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Old July 23rd, 2010, 07:21 AM   #132
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Reforms in PAGCOR
By Caroline J. Howard, ANC
Posted at 07/23/2010 11:43 AM | Updated as of 07/23/2010 11:45 AM

PAGCOR transactions under review, privatization eyed

MANILA, Philippines - Investigations are underway into supposed anomalous transactions entered into by the previous leadership of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).

In keeping with President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino's call for a crackdown on corruption, PAGCOR spokesman Atty. Jay Santiago, in an interview on ANC's "The Rundown" on Thursday night, says the investigation would include the controversial P21 million food order for policemen during rallies and demonstrations.

"We've gone through documents supporting the P21-million disbursement. We're trying to get in touch with the people involved to know how the transaction came about. The money, which was supposed to be reimbursed by this P21M, is supposed to cover a certain amount advanced by former [PAGCOR] chairman Efraim Genuino, so we're still trying to check the veracity of that allegation," he says. "Hopefully, in the next few weeks, we'll be able to render a report to the President."

Santiago says they are looking into reports that part of what he called a "highly irregular" food purchase meant for police activities and operations went to purposes other than what it was originally intended.

Former PAGCOR Chairman Efraim Genuino denies there was any anomaly in the transaction, adding disbursements made by PAGCOR during his term were all legal.

"There's a legally mandated allocation as far as the social fund is concerned. A certain amount should remain with PAGCOR for its operating expenses. The question is if operating expenses of PAGCOR have been used and properly accounted for, that's what we're looking at," Santiago says.

Santiago says PAGCOR's revenues are allocated by law. An estimated 5% goes to the internal revenue for franchise taxes, 50% to the National Treasury. There are legally mandated allocations for the Philippine Sports Commission, the Board of Claims [under the Department of Justice], Book Development Fund, and only a small percentage is left to the discretion of PAGCOR. Between 1.5 to 2% of revenues supposedly go to the President's Social Fund.

Over 200 consultants terminated

Santiago says they have terminated 205 consultants, including former police or military personnel, after uncovering a list of individuals who've been receiving an allowance from the agency on retainer basis.

Earlier this week, the agency said it had uncovered a P5-million monthly allowance for over 200 consultants of the agency, and a P29-million donation to the party-list group that fielded Genuino's daughter as its nominee in the May elections.

Genuino says there was nothing irregular in the hiring of consultants to help with PAGCOR's operations.

Santiago, however, says PAGCOR's donations to non-government organizations should not involve conflict of interest.

Pending PAGCOR projects under review

Santiago says they are currently reviewing plans of the previous administration to forge joint ventures for the construction of the PAGCOR Tower and Recreation Center. He says commitments that have been entered into would be respected.

"We have four proponents which have made commitments to start off construction on the Entertainment City, which is connected to the Bagong Nayong Pilipino," he says. "We are in the process of reviewing the contracts they've entered into, the business models that have been proposed, and we're looking at the lay-out of the project. Chairman [Cristino] Naguiat wants it to be more of a tourist attraction rather than a gambling destination."

Freeze on licenses eyed

Under the leadership of Cristino Naguiat, who replaced Genuino as PAGCOR Chair, Santiago says PAGCOR is also mulling a suspension on the granting of licenses, following the proliferation of so-called "mobile casinos".

"The president has intimated he's asked Chairman Cristino Naguiat to look into licenses that have been granted and to make sure that licenses or operations or new casinos don't proliferate the way it did in past administrations," he says. "Chairman Naguiat and the board have agreed that there should be a freeze now or suspension on the granting of licenses to make sure we're able to inventory all of the licenses that have been granted so far, and to make sure all of these licensees are not in violation of the license granted by PAGCOR."

Privatizing PAGCOR

Amid criticism over PAGCOR's alleged corrupt practices, the Aquino administration is planning to privatize the company's operations.

Santiago says PAGCOR's new board is studying different modes for privatizing the organization.

"The downside is, if we privatize the corporation, that might put an end to the financing of its social projects. What can be done later on is to include in the privatization plan that anybody who will acquire the operations of the corporation will have to make a commitment to continue social work projects through their corporate social responsibility. The upside is, if the financial model is well prepared, the government will be able to raise enough funds to sustain its project within the next 3 to 4 years."

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima has admitted that the prospect of privatizing PAGCOR, one of the government's major revenue contributors (involving an estimated P1.6 billion to the country's coffers in the first two months of the year), could be costly for the government.
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Old July 28th, 2010, 03:31 PM   #133
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Bloombury breaks ground on $577-million resort complex in Entertainment City
July 28, 2010, 5:13pm

Bloombury Investments Holdings, Inc. recently broke ground to start the development of an 8.3-hectare, world-class integrated resort complex at the Bagong Nayong Pilipino–Entertainment City Manila, an investment amounting to US$577 million.

The groundbreaking signaled the start of the first phase of development, making Bloombury the first among the four developers to start construction in the Entertainment City.

Named the Solaire Manila Project, Bloombury’s integrated resort complex includes a five-star, 500-room hotel covering some 165,000 square meters of floor area. The Entertainment City has been designated as a special economic zone area under Philippine Economic Zone Authority.

“We are excited about this investment in the Entertainment City Manila. Aside from catapulting the Philippines into a key player in the tourism, hospitality and entertainment industries, the project will make Filipinos proud for having a world class leisure hub that will showcase the best that the country can offer. Entertainment City Manila will rival the leisure hubs in the region such as those in Macau, Malaysia, and of late, Singapore,” says Enrique K. Razon Jr., Bloombury chairman.

Bloombury’s complex is set to be operational in the third quarter of 2012, while total investment for the long term is expected to reach US$ 1 billion. Aside from attracting local and foreign visitors, the complex is expected to generate some 2,500 jobs and to boost the country’s ancillary service sectors.

Aside from the hotel, the complex will feature state of the art meeting and convention facilities as well as relaxation and leisure facilities such as a live performance theater, an array of restaurants, health and wellness facilities, just to name a few.

Razon, together with Florencio M. Bernabe, Parañaque City mayor, led the groundbreaking rites. They were assisted by Bloombury directors and officers led by Jose Eduardo J. Alarilla, president and director; Estela Tuason-Occena, treasurer and director, Edgardo Q. Abesamis, director; Christian R. Gonzalez, director; and Donato C. Almeda, chief operating officer. Also present was Paul Steelman, design architect and Steelman Partners chief executive officer.

The Bagong Nayong Pilipino–Entertainment City Manila is a multi-billion dollar project of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR), a government-owned corporation engaged in the entertainment and gaming business. The PAGCOR project covers 120 hectares of prime reclaimed land at the western portion of the Manila Bay in Parañaque City.

Firm tapped to build Belle hotel, casino

LISTED REAL estate developer Belle Corp. has tapped Megawide Construction Corp. to build a P1.3-billion hotel casino in Parañaque City that will become the largest of its kind in the country, the contractor said in a statement yesterday.

Megawide Construction said it had begun laying the foundation for the project. It expects to complete the casino floor and one of two 15-storey hotel towers in 12 months.The construction is going on faster than the normal pace because of the methodologies [the company] is using, including the use of precast walls for the exterior and precast beams and girders which are also post-tensioned,” Megawide Construction said.The casino will be patterned after those operating in Las Vegas and will also incorporate Macau’s Venetian-type finishing, while the hotel will have a Planet Hollywood theme,” the construction firm said.
Megawide Construction earlier said it was planning to raise as much as P3 billion through an initial public offering in November to fund expansion plans that will allow it to cater to projects from the Ayala property and banking group.

Its client list also includes SM Development Corp., the property arm of the Henry Sy-led SM mall and banking group.

Belle Corp., which is controlled by the SM group, claims a niche in high-end residential and leisure properties in Tagaytay, Cavite and Batangas province.

Shares in the firm led by businessman Willy N. Ocier were unchanged at P1.86 apiece yesterday. -- Jessica Anne D. Hermosa
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Old August 9th, 2010, 07:13 AM   #134
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Story here
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Old August 9th, 2010, 08:48 AM   #135
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nice reprint...from IPAD?

Belle Rises to 11-Year High on Report Philippines to Limit Casino Permits
By Ian Sayson - Aug 9, 2010 1:01 PM GMT+0800

Belle Corp. led gains among Philippine casino operators after the Philippine Daily Inquirer said the government has suspended issuing new casino licenses, prompting speculation existing permit holders will benefit.

Belle, which has a license to build a casino complex in the capital Manila, jumped 8.5 percent to 2.17 pesos at the noon close of trading, the highest since November 1999. Alliance Global Group Inc., operator of the largest Philippine casino and partner of Genting Hong Kong Ltd., rose 1.9 percent to 6.35 pesos, the highest since June 2007.

“A suspension on new licenses would mean less competition and that will be quite favorable for the existing players,” said James Lago, head of research at Manila-based PCCI Securities Brokers Corp. “This government policy is probably temporary and will be a short-term boost for casino stocks.”

The Philippine Amusement & Gaming Corp. has suspended the grant of new casino franchises in response to President Benigno Aquino’s direction to “stem the mushrooming gambling facilities” in the country, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported today, citing Jay Santiago, a spokesman at the state- owned casino regulator and operator. Aquino’s spokesman Edwin Lacierda told reporters today he couldn’t confirm the suspension.

Leisure & Resorts World Corp., an Internet gaming company and Belle’s local partner in the Manila casino complex, climbed 7.5 percent to 2.01 pesos, the highest since April 12.

Belle and Leisure are in talks with three groups including Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. to manage the casino complex it’s been authorized by the government to build in the capital, a stock exchange filing last week showed. An agreement may be reached in September, it said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ian C. Sayson in Manila at [email protected]
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Old August 12th, 2010, 06:57 AM   #136
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update on PAGCOR
Originally Posted by panay1 View Post
Hong Kong group also interested in Pagcor, says spokesman
By Marlon Ramos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 21:27:00 08/11/2010

Filed Under: Economy and Business and Finance, Casinos & Gambling
MANILA, Philippines—The reported $10-billion proposal to privatize the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) has caught the attention of two more groups of investors, one of them from Hong Kong, an official of the state-run gaming company said Wednesday.

Jay Santiago, Pagcor spokesman, said a Hong Kong-based conglomerate engaged in the real estate, hotel and casino businesses has expressed interest in acquiring Pagcor sin the event President Aquino decides to let go of the government’s role in managing high-end gambling facilities such as casinos.

Santiago said Malaysian billionaire Robert Kuok’s denial of his supposed interest in bidding for Pagcor would affect the speculation on the real market value of the government-owned gaming corporation.

“Its impact is on the offer of Ramon Ang. I don’t know if (Ang’s) offer will stand due to the denial,” Santiago said.

Ang, president of San Miguel Corp. and vice chairman of its board of directors, had earlier told the Inquirer that Malaysia’s “big boys,” among them Kuok, were keen on raising $10 billion to acquire Pagcor and run gaming establishments in the country.

Kuok, through his spokesman in Manila, denied however that he was interested in Pagcor, saying the owner of the posh Shangri-la hotels had no plan of entering the gaming business.

Santiago said that a representative of the Hong Konmg group said in an “informal” conversation that the Hong Kong investors considered the $10-billion offer "interesting.”

“If the price is right, then there might be some interest. The question is, what is the right price,” Santiago quoted the group’s emissary as saying.

He declined to name the group, but said the investors were into real estate and hotel operations across the Asia Pacific region and that they were already engaged in casino operations in the country.

According to Santiago, he was told that talk about Pagcor’s privatization has also attracted the group of businessman Willy Ocier, vice chair of property and gaming company Belle Corp.

“We expect that these discussions about the privatization would draw the attention of other investors,” he said.

However, Santiago insisted that the $10-billion price tag that Ang floated for Pagcor was too small, considering the 23 years left in its franchise to run the monopoly gambling business in the country.

“The $10 billion proposal is a good start, but I think it’s too low. If the time is right, we could make use of different valuation methods,” he said.

With Pagcor’s annual gross revenue of about P30 billion, he argued that it could easily earn P690 billion when its franchise ends in 2033, a difference of some P240 billion from Ang’s proposal, taking the current dollar-peso exchange rate of P45 into account.

“(Ang) said he could raise Pagcor’s annual revenues to at least P35 billon. If he could do it, then why can’t we do it?” the Pagcor spokesman said.

Since Pagcor was directly under the office of the President, Santiago said they would just “take the cue” from Mr. Aquino.

Said Santiago: “If the President is serious in privatizing Pagcor, then we will start the process. If he thinks he needs immediate funding and wants to sell Pagcor, then we will take the cue from him.”

“If he thinks it’s not urgent and that there’s projects that he wants us to continue, then we will just work to increase the remittances and revenues of Pagcor,” he added.

To ensure transparency in the sale of Pagcor, Santiago said they would hire professional valuation managers to ascertain the real market value of the corporation.

All government expenses regarding Pagcor’s privatization must be minimal and reasonable, Pagcor chair Cristino Naguiat said.

“But as we said, the Pagcor’s privatization is not on our priority list right now,” Naguiat said.
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Old August 16th, 2010, 10:10 AM   #137
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Privatized Pagcor to bring in more revenues for gov't
Posted at 08/16/2010 10:53 AM | Updated as of 08/16/2010 10:53 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Besides the one-time gain from the possible sale of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), the government will also benefit from the license fees that it will be getting from casino-operators.

In an interview with ANC, Pagcor President and Chief Operating Officer Jorge Sarmiento said the office will get to keep its regulatory functions as perceived in the privatization set-up.

As such, the government will still be able to earn even if the casino or gaming operations will go to private hands.

At present, part of Pagcor’s income goes straight to the national budget, host cities and various taxes. It also earmarks a portion to several agencies such as the Philippine Sports Commission and other social funds.

In 2008, the 41-casino chain reported a net income of P29.62 billion.

President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III already said he is seriously considering the proposal to privatize Pagcor after receiving a $10 billion offer from the group of San Miguel Corp. vice-chairman Ramon Ang.

This also comes on the heels of Aquino’s state of the nation address, where he mentioned better “public-private partnerships.”

Sarmiento explained “besides the windfall money, we will also charge license fees [which may amount] to 25% to 30% of the gross earnings of casinos.”

‘Beautify Pagcor’

He said “Pagcor is such a jewel to be privatized.”

Sarmiento noted the company could still fetch a higher price if it is made more efficient. Pagcor earlier mentioned plans of expansion in order to be more attractive to investors.

“Before we sell, Pagcor should be attractive to private buyers. With that, we have to beautify, be efficient, address leakages and resolve the welfare of employees…,” he said.

He said Pagcor is also in the process of reviewing 200 or so contracts with the goal of ending graft and corruption.

A manpower audit is also underway, he said.

Sarmiento said the results of the review, handled by the legal department, would be released soon.
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Old September 13th, 2010, 05:23 AM   #138
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IPVG wants to list another unit, readies IPO of gaming outfit

IP Converge Data Center Inc., the information technology and telecommunications arm of listed IPVG Corp., will file an application to join the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) in the next two weeks, according to an executive.

The firm however has yet to decide whether it would go public to raise funds or just list by way of introduction.

Jaime Enrique Y. Gonzalez, IPVG Corp. chief executive officer, told reporters on Saturday listing a subsidiary was “a matter of timing.”

“A subsidiary has to reach a certain size before the parent firm can do the listing. We will file our listing application before the PSE in the next two weeks,” Mr. Gonzalez said.

In a previous disclosure, the company said it would list the subsidiary in line with IPVG Corp.’s strategy to expand its businesses without putting too much strain on the parent firm’s finances.

In July, the parent company approved a plan to list IP Converge, subject to terms and conditions the subsidiary may deem favorable.

IP Converge is a provider of data storage services to local companies in sectors such as telecommunications and finance.

“I think it will take few years before we can list other subsidiaries,” Mr. Gonzalez said.

He did not say whether the company would conduct an initial public offering (IPO) or list by way of introduction.

The latter method was chosen by sister company IP e-Games Ventures, Inc., which got approval from the stock exchange in February.

Mr. Gonzalez said his office would be finalizing the schedule for IP e-Games’ IPO in the first quarter of next year. It plans to raise about P500 million to finance expansion.

“We are working closely with our underwriter ATR KimEng. We are currently doing our rights issuance which should be completed first.

We will [conduct an] IPO to raise funds for new title acquisitions and build new infrastructure to allow us to invest more in the gaming industry,” Mr. Gonzalez said.

IP e-Games launched on Saturday its latest “casual massively multiplayer online roleplaying game” or MMORPG dubbed Dragonica, in partnership with Singapore-based Infocomm Asia Holdings Pte. Ltd.

“Dragonica is a free-play manga-style action roleplaying game with an eight-way, full three-dimensional side-scrolling system. The game aims to bring together new and hardcore gamers alike with its fun and intuitive gameplay,”
Mr. Gonzalez said.

The company said the game is already being played in South Korea, China, Taiwan, Russia, the United States, Europe, and other parts of Southeast Asia.

“The game started its closed beta testing last July and acceptance from the local gaming community has been phenomenal,” Mr. Gonzalez claimed.

Casual games offered by IP e-Games are published under X-Play Online Games, Inc., a joint venture company between IP e-Games and GMA New Media Inc., a unit of broadcast giant GMA Network, Inc. -- Aura Marie P. Dagcutan
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Old September 13th, 2010, 05:45 AM   #139
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Santiago: Local exec close to Aquino is key to ‘jueteng’ operations

By Gil C. Cabacungan Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:47:00 09/12/2010

Filed Under: Politics, Benigno Aquino III

MANILA, Philippines – A local official close to President Aquino, who ran on a platform of change in the May elections, is the key to the continued operations of “jueteng” in the country, according to a senator.

“I have a particular person in mind whom we all thought was very bright but who ran for a local post because he controls a jueteng operation there,” Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago in an interview on dzBB radio said.

Santiago said she would disclose the identity of this Aquino ally after gathering enough evidence to back up her claim.

“I already talked with somebody who saw [the evidence] directly but this somebody does not want to testify yet,” the senator said.

Santiago said operators of jueteng—an illegal numbers racket—have made a profile of the individuals who belong to the President’s inner circle or of persons he trusts, and have started touching base with them to gain their confidence.

“They (jueteng lords) believe that if the President trusted and loved the company of this people enough, they could provide good protection from prosecution or harassment,” the senator said.

Santiago said members of Mr. Aquino’s inner circle had become easy targets for jueteng lords because they, “after kissing his toes,” were themselves declaring that the President was “OK” or ready to play ball.

The key to controlling jueteng in the country would be to put a leash on the Department of the Interior and Local Governments (DILG) and the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), she said.

“Even if you get red in the face lecturing about anti-jueteng, if you do not control the interior secretary and the PNP chief, nothing will change from other administrations,” Santiago said.

The senator commended Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo’s appointment, saying the President should give him a second chance because somebody was holding him back from doing his full job.

Santiago said she did not agree with the decision of Mr. Aquino to remove control of the police from Robredo because this was against the administrative code.

“But if I were in his (Robredo) place, I would have come earlier at the risk of getting the ire of the President,” she said.

Santiago said she commiserated with the President for tapping persons that he trusted in sensitive government positions.

“The presidency is a very lonely job. You do not know who are your allies, enemies, or those who will betray you or just use you. President Aquino is a bachelor. He has no wife and child to share his feelings to,” Santiago said.

But she said that if the President needed to appoint somebody he trusted, he should just appoint them as an assistant or adviser and not as an undersecretary like Rico E. Puno in the DILG.

“He has no experience. He only sells guns to the PNP and now the PNP is under him. Isn’t that conflict of interest?” she said.
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Old September 13th, 2010, 10:43 AM   #140
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Subic Yacht Club as mini-Monaco

THE moribund Subic Yacht Club will shortly be turned into a mini-Monaco with gaming to be added to boost membership and hotel revenues.

According to the grapevine, a Japanese gaming company, Orient Pearl Entertainment and Management Inc. has reached an agreement with lead creditor Land Bank of the Philippines to initially acquire 25 percent of the club as a way to gain management control.

LandBank heads a consortium of local banks that foreclosed 40 percent of the club when its debt-financed construction floundered during the regional currency crisis.

Chaired by Toshio Shimada, Orient Pearl already operates six casino-hotels in the country, including the Majestic Networld Hotel at the corner of Roxas Blvd. and Buendia Ave.
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