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PAGCOR’s Top Priority: Privatize Casinos in the Philippines

March 23, 2023 Philippines Industry Updates

The sale of its state-owned casinos was announced by Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) on Tuesday for PHP80 billion (US$1.47 billion).

An essential action for casinos in the Philippines
At the ASEAN Gaming Summit in Manila, Pagcor Chairman and Chief Executive Alejandro Tengco discussed the privatization. “We are seriously considering privatizing all Pagcor-operated casinos,” he declared.

These casinos are actually owned by Casino Filipino. It runs 42 casinos, including “satellite casinos” that have been set up in various locations that were rented from other people. The Philippines venues are the only casinos that are regulated and administered by the same body, and it is likely that this will change in the near future. The Filipino brand runs ten casinos, while 32 are “satellites.”

The casinos are worth a lot, but Tengco asserted that if they were packaged, they could fetch much greater prices.

Operators from different nations will be eligible to compete on the tender for the privatization of Pagcor, according to Asia Gaming Brief, the summit’s organizer.

In 2022, Pagcor casinos generated a total of PHP15.79 billion in gross gaming revenue (GGR), of which PHP8.47 billion came from slot machines.

Alejandro Tengco, a new regulator, assumed the position in August, replacing Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who had held the position since June 30. Since both the gaming executive and Marcos’ tenure will expire in 2028, they intend to accomplish the privatization before the conclusion of the term.

The privatization has received the approval of Philippine Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno. He is confident that the effort already planned—the Maharlika Investment Fund, a national development initiative—can benefit from the privatization’s profit.

According to a recent study from Pagcor, the casinos made more than PHP 184 billion in income in 2022, an increase of 90.6% from PHP 86.55 billion in revenue in 2021.

The main adjustments:
According to Tengco, the people of the Philippines are the country’s most valuable resource, and they will gain significantly from the privatization.

Tengco also spoke about some fresh regulatory changes that the Philippines is preparing to put into effect. He discussed various revisions to the legal documents that govern the licensing of junket operators and the nation’s land-based casinos. A revision and update of Pagcor’s Technical Specifications for Electronic Gaming Machines is also necessary. Philippine casinos are anticipating some significant changes as the regulatory framework for online poker operations needs to be created and implemented and the regulation of online gaming can be improved.

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