Philippines Looking Forward to Privatize Pagcor Casinos in 2018

Philippines flagThe Finance Secretary of Philippines, Carlos G Dominguez III, has informed that the government is planning for disposal of 17 casinos that are being currently operated by the gaming regulator in the country. The sale of these casinos is likely to start in the middle of 2018.

The gaming regulator of the country, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR), has a significant portfolio of around 50 gaming properties. The gaming regulator also operates its casinos under the brand name of Casino Filipino that is spread across 13 places in the country and even runs approximately 35 smaller satellite facilities.

Last year, the Philippine Department of Finance decided to privatise all the Pagcor owned casinos stating that the regulating body should focus on its supervisory functions and responsibilities. The private regulatory agencies are also raising concern that the dual-core played by Pagcor is causing a significant conflict of interests.

The government has made all the plans to sell the casinos owned by Pagcor. The finance secretary said that the process is quite cumbersome and will take some amount of time to complete it. He further added that when it comes to selling, the properties that are wholly owned by Pagcor would be the first going off the block.

Carlos G Dominguez III made the following statement to press:

Those casinos being operated directly by Pagcor should be privatized first. It’s not going to happen overnight and the deals are quite complex so we have to piece it out and see what is the best deal for the government.

A detailed analysis will be carried out by Philippines government to ascertain how much amount the Pagcor casinos would earn on total revenue that comes from winning as compared to income from licensing fees. The finance secretary reiterated that their primary focus would be on the property valuation. He added that separate assessment would be done as each casino is different from the other one. He is hopeful that the process would be concluded by the end of this year.

Pagcor is regarded as one of the top-earning state-owned companies. In 2016, it reported a gross gaming revenue worth $275 million and approximately half of it is being shared with Treasury. However, it is failing to maintain with the private casinos running in the Philippines.

As per some latest data, three integrated casino resorts in the Entertainment City – Okada Manila, City of Dreams Manila and Solaire Resort account for more than 50% of entire casino revenue generated in the country. The fourth casino coming in the dedicated zone Westside City Resorts World is likely to start its operation in 2021.

The Philippines Finance Secretary said that it is difficult on the part of the government to complete the privatisation of large-scale private casinos. The privatisation would make Pagcor casinos lose customers to private operators in the coming future. Hence, the decision for the privatisation of Pagcor casinos is made at the right time.

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