PAGCOR’s Plan to Sell 41 Casinos to Increase Government Revenue

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PAGCOR, or Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, has taken steps to sell off 41 domestic casinos that it owns to generate 80 billion pesos in revenue for the federal government.

Due to public outrage and government official concerns, the Philippine government has decided to sell off its casinos in an effort to better regulate the casino gaming industry. Critics maintain that PAGCOR, as both a regulator and operator for casino gaming in the Philippines, has failed in fulfilling its responsibilities effectively across all areas.

Proposed Plan

At the Asean Gaming Summit, PAGCOR Chairman Alejandro Tengco revealed that he is actively considering privatizing all its casinos owned by his corporation. Tengco expressed his hope to complete this process during his term as Chairman.

Tengco informed reporters that selling his casinos could generate roughly 80 billion pesos of revenue for the federal government, while new facilities should help the industry return to pre-pandemic levels by 2024.

PAGCOR initially announced its plan to sell government-owned casinos in 2016, but changed their minds in 2018 due to global pandemic.

Recovery of Domestic Casinos

The COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupted Philippine casino operations during 2019, forcing a complete stop as government prioritised public safety over casino profits.

President Rodrigo Duterte took swift steps to combat the virus, including temporarily closing casinos and temporarily permitting online operations.

Due to its heavy reliance on tourism, the Philippines faced short-term economic setbacks when travel restrictions prevented tourists from visiting. Since lifting travel restrictions, however, tourism levels have slowly returned to pre-pandemic levels.

PAGCOR Doesn’t Own Online Casinos

PAGCOR does not directly own any online casinos; rather they license domestic casinos to operate them abroad. Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOS) have received legal permission to operate from within the Philippines but only serve customers located abroad – their operations do not extend within the Philippines itself.

Residents can access legal online Philippine casinos operating outside of their own nation without breaking any laws.

Alejandro Santos

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