Philippine finance secretary: PAGCOR casino privatisation won’t need legislation

PAGCOR’s chairman and CEO says the agency will end its dual role.
PAGCOR’s chairman and CEO says the agency will end its dual role.

Philippine finance secretary Benjamin Diokno has again advocated for the privatisation of PAGCOR’s casinos.

The Philippines.- Benjamin Diokno, the Philippines’ finance secretary has insisted that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp’s (PAGCOR) cannot maintain its dual role as gaming regulator and casino operator. He said president Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr “knows it’s not smart to have the same operator and (regulator)”.

Diokno said privatisation would not require new legislation. He said: They can turn it over to us. It can also be done through the Governance Commission for Government-Owned or -Controlled Corporations (GCG). PAGCOR is a corporation. What GCG usually does is to propose an executive order.”

The Department of Finance has long proposed the privatisation of PAGCOR’s gaming operations, and PAGCOR CEO Alejandro Tengco has confirmed that the regulator and operator will sell its casinos. It anticipates making approximately US$1.47bn from the sale of its 41 casinos. 

Meanwhile, PAGCOR has announced plans to launch an online casino by the first quarter of the upcoming year. Tengco said the online Casino Filipino would employ virtual reality technology that can simulate the sights and sounds of a physical casino, offering a realistic and immersive gaming experience.

PAGCOR reported revenue of PHP2.59bn (US$47m). Gaming operations and regulatory fees from licensees accounted for PHP34.12bn, or 94.3 per cent, of PAGCOR’s revenue and rose 38.03 per cent when compared to last year. Income was up 35.64 per cent in year-on-year terms from PHP26.7bn to PHP36.21bn (US$662m). 

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