THE country’s gaming regulator suspended gambling operations for a month starting on Sunday, even as it allowed offshore gaming operations to continue with a minimal workforce.

Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) in an e-mailed statement said the suspension covers all land-based casinos, including those that it owns and operates as well as licensed and integrated resort-casinos, electronic games, traditional and electronic bingo, sports betting, poker and slot-machine clubs and other activities it regulates.

“Only a minimum number of workers will be allowed in their workplaces,” Pagcor said of offshore gambling operators here, while employees follow social distancing and quarantine protocols.

Restaurants inside gaming areas will remain open, while hotels that house casinos may still accept guests, “but are discouraged from hosting large functions and events.”

If local governments outside Metro Manila start imposing community quarantine, gaming operations there will also be suspended, Pagcor said.

“This measure is intended to ensure the safety of both gaming employees and customers and eventually, the general public,” it said.

The gaming agency also banned public gatherings within its gaming venues and properties.

Pagcor said it had remitted P2 billion to the Office of the President, which will be used by the Health department against the COVID-19 contagion.

“It is also in the process of procuring personal protective equipment and food for frontline workers and communities affected by the pandemic,” it added. — Beatrice M. Laforga