The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) is looking to sell its 41 owned domestic casinos to raise 80 billion in revenue for the federal government.
After an outcry from citizens and government officials, the Philippine government is set on selling its casinos to provide better regulation for the industry. Many critics have stated that the casino gaming regulator has not performed up to standard since they own and operate casinos across the Philippines.
- The Proposal
PAGCOR Chairman Alejandro Tengco told the Asean Gaming Summit that PAGCOR is seriously considering privatizing all PAGCOR-owned casinos. Tengco went on to say that he hopes that PAGCOR will be able to implement the privatization during his term as chairman.
Tengco told reporters that selling their casinos would produce roughly 80 billion pesos for the federal government and that with the completion of new facilities and the return of Chinese gamblers, the industry is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2024.
PAGCOR first announced intentions to sell its government-owned casinos in 2016, but those plans were shelved in 2018 before the global pandemic shook everything up.
- Domestic Casinos Rebound
The 2019 COVID Pandemic wreaked havoc on the casino industry in the Philippines, literally bringing everything to a halt as the government tried to protect its citizens.
During the height of the pandemic, President Rodrigo Duterte had to take drastic measures to keep people from public facilities; this included closing casinos and allowing them to operate online temporarily.
Since the pandemic hit the Philippines especially hard, the government had to prevent tourists from entering the country for a short time, leading to a short-term economic disaster. Now that travel restrictions have been lifted, pre-pandemic numbers are slowly returning to normal.
- Does PAGCOR Own Online Casinos?
No, PAGCOR owns no online casinos, but they license domestic casinos to operate online in other countries. Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOS) have obtained legal licensing to operate online from inside the Philippines, but they can only provide their services to other countries rather than the Philippines.