At least 36 people died after a gunman burst into a Manila casino, firing shots and setting gaming tables alight, a spokesman for the Philippine president was quoted by the news agencies on Friday.
The officials believe that the massacre was a botched robbery attempt.
There was no evidence linking the attack at the Resorts World Manila entertainment complex to fighting between government troops and Islamist militants in the country’s south, said Ernesto Abella, a spokesman for President Rodrigo Duterte told media persons.
“All indications point to a criminal act by an apparently emotionally disturbed individual,” Abella told a media conference. “Although the perpetrator gave warning shots, there apparently was no indication that he wanted to do harm or shoot anyone.”
Most of the dead suffocated in the chaos as guests and staff tried to flee choking smoke at the complex after the drama that began shortly after midnight (1600 GMT).
Resorts World Manila official said the dead included 13 employees and 22 guests.
Officials said at least 54 people were hurt, some seriously, as they rushed to escape what at first had been feared as a militant attack.
Videos posted earlier on social media showed people fleeing as several loud bangs were heard.
“Even the security personnel panicked. Maybe because of the heavy firearm, they can’t put up a fight so they prioritised life and safety,” Jeff Santos, a high roller at Resorts World Manila, told a Philippine radio station. “Definitely us patrons we did not expect that, everyone ran away.”