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PAGCOR Casinos Set for Privatization in Coming Years: Government Plans Asset Sale

May 24, 2023 Philippines Casino & Hotel

PAGCOR Casinos Set for Privatization in Coming Years: Government Plans Asset Sale. This year, the Philippine government hopes to sell twice as many state assets, and it also plans to market mining rights, starting with the Basay mines.

In the meantime, the long-anticipated privatization of state-run casinos might finally happen within the next two years.

The government plans to sell more of its assets this year, according to Catherine Fong, Finance Undersecretary for the Department of Finance’s (DOF) Privatization and Corporate Affairs Group.

“We sold assets worth around P1.5 billion last year. We do, however, want to roll out a lot more quickly under the Privatization Management Office (PMO), which is still owned by the government, she added.

“We want to achieve more than we did last year. Definitely increase that by two or more. Most of them are real estate properties,” she continued.

Despite the fact that there are still other government assets up for sale, Fong clarified that she is only speaking to PMO properties.

Fong stated, “Mile Long is something we wish to auction. Afterwards, we want to sell certain mining rights that the government still owns this year or the following year”.

Fong was referring to Makati City’s 2.2-hectare Mile Long property.

The necessity to confirm the contents of the mines and the requirement to revise the valuation, according to Fong, are what are preventing the government from auctioning its mining rights.

“We are having the valuation done, but there is unquestionably considerable interest. There will undoubtedly be a lot of local and international interest once we’re ready to auction the mines”, she said. “We are currently receiving assistance from the German government, and we have also received offers from the US and Australian governments to assist us in determining the value of the mines and to help us package it for auction”.

We have four, but three of them are currently the subject of litigation, so we aren’t yet ready to put them up for auction, but we’re starting with the one that already has a clear title since we are still determining the true value of the others.

The Basay mines are what Fong was alluding to.

“We’re considering not just selling it outright at auction; instead, we’re searching for development partners to help us… We are requesting advice on how to sell it using current best practices in the mining sector. We are attempting to package it responsibly”, she said.

Fong stated that the Pagcor Board supports the idea of selling the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.’s (Pagcor) own gaming businesses.

“They are supportive, but we must, of course, take care of the affected staff, so there is a strategy in place to achieve so. The board is sympathetic, but the chairman is only asking for a short period of time—perhaps a year or two—to settle and take care of the staff who will be laid off,” she said.

“The government’s policy is to separate the regulatory from the proprietary powers, but of course, there are employees to consider, so it’s not gonna be that immediate,” she continued.

According to earlier predictions for 2017, the first casinos to be privatized would be around 17 casinos that are solely run by Pagcor.

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and Pagcor’s gaming activities were both under consideration for privatization by the DOF in 2020 in order to raise additional funds to assist pay off debts related to the new coronavirus response in 2019. The aforementioned plans were unsuccessful.


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