The measure to privatise the casinos owned by Pagcor could be implemented starting next year.
Philippines.- A Cabinet official confirmed that the government’s plan to sell seventeen casinos operated by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) could be implemented starting in 2018 as officials are trying to turn the entity into a regulatory body.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd said: “We are working on the Pagcor deal, the first item is those casinos being operated directly by Pagcor, I think those should be privatised first.” The Secretary said that whilst the study is still ongoing, he’s not backing down from his plans to sell all casinos under Pagcor’s authority. One of the ideas is to sell the Fort Ilocandia casino in Laoag: “We don’t have the valuation yet, it is very difficult because the data on operations are not robust, what I am saying is that we should figure it first by capacity. How many tables they have, or how many visitors did they have last year, what’s the projection, etc,” he added, as Manila Bulletin reported.
The finance authority said that the plans to sell casinos would not affect the jobs of the current emplpoyees. “That sale [Casino Filipino] should be one by one because everything is very different from the other. We want to complete all the studies by the end of the year and then we’ll figure out the method of privatisation.”
Moreover, he added that the privatisation would not affect the government’s revenue streams, as he said that he doesn’t see how that would happen. “How does a government-run casino compete with the privately run casinos, I think there is no way they can compete if we don’t privatise it. They might actually lose their customers,” Dominguez said.
Pagcor also said that it would support the department’s plan to privatise all 46 government-owned casinos. “We might as well do it now… That is why we have to analyse how much revenues come from their winnings as against how much of the revenues come from the fees that are being paid. Its not going to happen overnight, and the deals are quite complex so we have to piece it out and see what is the best deal for the government,” finalised Dominguez.