In a VIP room reserved for high-spending gamblers at City of Dreams Manila casino in the Philippine capital, many of the players are nowhere to be seen. They’re not even in the country.
Instead, they’re placing bets by telephone, a practice banned in other gaming centers such as Singapore, Australia and Macau, but legal in the Philippines. Young men and women sitting at tables at the casino, many from China and dressed in smart black uniforms, chat in Chinese over mobile-phone headsets, placing wagers on behalf of their long-distance clients. Video cameras on the ceiling broadcast the action on the tables for gamblers who are watching, mostly from China.