PAGCOR has announced that the cities and local government units that host a Casino Filipino branch will receive a PHP34.64m (US$678,543) grant.
The Philippines.- The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) has approved a PHP34.64m (US$678,543) grant for cities that host a Casino Filipino to help them recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Andrea Domingo, PAGCOR chairman, said: “With the approved grant of PHP34.64m, our host cities will be able to receive financial support that is almost equivalent to their host city share allocation under full operational capacity.”
Domingo said the money remitted by PAGCOR to its host networks is used for different activities, including emergency assistance to calamity victims, education programs, anti-drug abuse campaigns, etc.
Between 2016 to March 2020, PAGCOR dispatched over PHP1.93bn to urban communities that have a Casino Filipino branch. Among these were the legislatures of Manila, Pasay, Angeles City, Olongapo, Tagaytay, Cavite, Cebu, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City, Bacolod, Negros Occidental, Iloilo, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte and Davao.
PAGCOR casino sale seen as unviable
The government is keen to bring in more revenue due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, but selling PAGCOR‘s own casinos wouldn’t be an option, analysts say.
The regulator-cum-operator’s dual role has been a topic of long debate given the potential conflict of interest, and analysts have claimed that that the position is untenable if the Philippines want to establish a world-class gaming industry and regulatory system.
However, while PAGOR currently operates 40 properties, it does so via leases and doesn’t own the properties themselves.
Scott Feeney, director at GCG Gaming Advisory Services, said: “I’m not convinced that investors would be keen on purchasing a lease and then having to compete with the 5-Star developments in Entertainment City or the current and future developments in Cebu and Clark.”
Andrea Domingo recently said the casino industry in the Philippines could return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of next year if the country achieves herd immunity and borders restrictions are lifted.
She also predicted PAGCOR’s revenues could reach between PHP35bn (US$701.6m) to PHP38bn in 2021.