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PAGCOR looks to online operations; head cites global opportunities

July 21, 2023 Philippines Industry Updates

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), the country’s principal gaming regulator, looks to eGambling for added layer of growth over its land-based casinos.

Original story by Neil Jerome Morales for Reuters with insights from the ACN Newsdesk

The Philippine gaming regulator aims to take a slice of the lucrative online gaming market by launching its own e-gambling operations next year to grow its pool of customers and attract wealthy offshore gamblers, its chief said on Thursday.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), a gaming regulator and operator, raked in 16 billion pesos ($293 million) last year from the 41 physical casinos it operates, contributing to the Philippine gambling industry’s gross gaming revenues of 214 billion ($3.9 billion) pesos.

“Online gaming offers an opportunity to tap into new markets and diversify its customer base,” Pagcor Chairman Alejandro Tengco said at the SiGMA Asia gaming conference.

Online gaming presents a huge opportunity for Pagcor, with the global online gambling market, valued at $63.53 billion in 2022, forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 11.7% from 2023-2030, a study by consulting firm Grand View Research showed.

Recently, PAGCOR cited an uptick of revenue growth at 35.6%. The government agency, which recently celebrated its 40th year, cited that its contributions could reach PHP 70B by year’s end.

The government agency has also announced a plan to modernize its casinos before privatization. 

A boost in the revenues of Pagcor, which is directly under the office of the Philippine president, bodes well for the Southeast Asian country because the bulk of its earnings form part of the national budget.

Pagcor’s plan to tap into the multi-billion dollar online gaming industry follows its 2020 decision to allow integrated casino-resorts in the Philippines to take online bets to help them cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are 32 offshore gaming companies legally operating in the Philippines that cater mostly to Chinese clients.

Manila’s gambling scene, which includes a smaller version of the Las Vegas gaming strip that is home to integrated casino resorts like Japan’s Universal Entertainment Corp and Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd, attracts high rollers from countries like China, Japan and South Korea.

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