Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) announced on Tuesday that its state-owned casinos would be sold for PHP80 billion (US$1.47 billion).
An important step for Philippines casinos:
Alejandro Tengco, a Pagcor Chairman and Chief Executive, spoke at the ASEAN Gaming Summit in Manila, commenting on the privatization. He said: “We are seriously considering the privatization of all Pagcor-operated casinos.”
Casino Filipino is the official owner of these casinos. It operates 42 casinos, including “satellite casinos” that were opened in various venues leased from third parties. The Filipino brand runs ten casinos, while 32 are “satellites.” Philippines venues are the only casinos that are regulated and operated by the same body, and it probably will be changed in the near future.
The casinos are worth a lot – but they will be able to gain even higher prices if they were bundled, as Tengco claimed.
The organizer of the summit, Asia Gaming Brief, said that the tender related to the privatization of Pagcor said that operators from various countries would be able to bid on the tender.
Aggregate gross gaming revenue (GGR) for Pagcor casinos was PHP15.79 billion in 2022, and the revenue from slot machines was PHP8.47 billion.
The new regulator, Alejandro Tengco, accepted the role in August, and Ferdinand Marcos Jr has been in that role since June 30. They plan to complete the privatization by the end of the term since the gaming chief and Marcos will finish their terms at the same time in 2028.
Benjamin Diokno, the Philippine Finance Secretary, approves the privatization. He is sure that the profit from the privatization can be used for the initiative that is already planned: Maharlika Investment Fund, a national development initiative.
Pagcor recently reported the annual results for 2022: the casinos earned more than PHP184.00 billion, which is 90.6% more than in 2021 when revenue was only PHP86.55 billion.
The major changes:
In the Philippines, the most important asset is the people, as Tengco claims – and they will greatly benefit from the privatization.
Tengco also mentioned some new regulatory initiatives that are about to be implemented in the Philippines. He spoke about some updates related to the regulatory manuals in terms of the junket operators’ licenses, as well as the land-based casinos in the country. Also, Pagcor needs to review and update its Technical Standards for Electronic Gaming Machines. The regulatory framework for online poker operations needs to be designed and implemented, and the regulation of online gaming can be better, so Philippines casinos are looking forward to some major changes.