PAGCOR Might Soon Stop Operating Casinos In The Philippines


PAGCOR - Philippine Amusement and Gaming CorporationPhilippine Amusement and Gaming Corp or PAGCOR is the gaming regulator in the country of Philippines. According to some local media reports, the Department of Finance is considering to remove all casino operation from the country.

The Finance Secretary of Philippines Mr Carlos Dominguez has said that:

We believe that government should only be in regulatory functions and not in commercial functions and therefore [should] dispose of – by sale or closing down – the commercial functions

Dominguez has recently taken office after his appointment as Finance Secretary by the President of Philippines Mr Rodrigo Duterte.

As per Q2 data 2016, one-third of all casino table games in the gambling market is controlled by PAGCOR. It also controls more than sixty percent of EGM or Electronic Gaming Machines. Casino Filipino is the brand under which 45 casinos are operated by PAGCOR. According to the latest report, this brand runs around 608 gaming tables and 10,603 electronic game machines. Apart from that, it has an overlook of 10 different casinos in the private sector which controls 1280 casino game tables and 7205 EGM.

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This is not the first time that Philippines Government has thought about getting rid of the casinos from the responsibilities scope of PAGCOR. When the previous Philippines President Mr Benigno Aquino held office during his last months of his tenure, a recommendation has been put by the government commission to privatise the casino operations of PAGCOR. By initiating such move, the gambling industry will be regulated in the nation.

The experts in the gaming industry have highlighted previously that any regulator that operates casino may lead to a conflict of interests while talking about regulatory policies. The chairperson of PAGCOR Andrea Domingo has made a statement in which he has elaborately added that all his staff members are working on disposal process and pricing for the PAGCOR casinos. She further added that privatisation of any gaming regulator is a very complicated process because the lease contracts for each site is different from other.

San Miguel Corp which is one of the largest companies in Philippines was interested in buying all the PAGCOR owned casinos in late 2010 for an amount of $10 million. Unfortunately, the idea did not attain final form and dies in its nascent stage. The current President Mr Duterte is contemplating a merger between PCSO (Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office) and PAGCOR.

Andrea of PAGCOR believes that it will be a difficult task to manage all the mass games and high-end games of PCSO. But she is willing to accept the merger if the Philippines Government goes for it. The President has recently decided to put a cut out on e-bingo and e-game industry in the nation. This move has been decided by Mr Duterte after the license of Philweb Corp was not renewed by PAGCOR. At present Philweb Corp is the largest operator of electronic games and e-bingo industry. Mr President was of the view that this company was making serious money by taking advantage of poor economic and financial condition of Filipinos.

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