PAGCOR Casino Income Up 36 Percent in 2017, PhilWeb Receives Accreditation

Posted on: October 31, 2017, 03:00h. 

Last updated on: October 31, 2017, 01:37h.

PAGCOR, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp, says in its 2017 third quarter report that casino income from its 13 Casino Filipino locations and 35 satellite facilities is up 36 percent through September.

PAGCOR Philippines casino revenue
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte (far right) is all smiles after receiving PAGCOR Chairwoman Andrea Domingo’s revenue report. (Image: PAGCOR)

Net income after expenses totaled PHP 4.36 billion ($84.3 million), a 36 percent surge on 2016 when PAGCOR’s bottom line stood at PHP 3.196 billion. Revenue from gaming operations totaled PHP 42.38 billion ($820 million), a more than 11 percent gain.

The $84.3 million take greatly exceeds expectations, PAGCOR targeting a profit of around $20 million through nine months prior to 2017 getting underway. The strong financial filing is continued good news for Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who after initially opposing the widespread gambling in the country after taking office in June of 2016, changed his view on the industry after saying, “Pay the correct taxes, gamble until you die. I do not really care.”

PAGCOR shares 50 percent of its gaming operations with the federal government. Through September, the agency has delivered checks totaling $390 million to Manila. PAGCOR generates the most cash for the federal government behind only the country’s Bureau of Internal Revenue.

PhilWeb Back

In a securities filing with the Philippine Stock Exchange this week, PhilWeb revealed it’s now reaccredited to offer interactive games to licensed electronic gambling locations. PhilWeb says PAGCOR has fully signed off on its Electronic Gaming System Service Provider certification.

PhilWeb, which received a provisional permit from PAGCOR in late August, remains barred from operating its own eGaming cafes.

But PAGCOR allowing PhilWeb to offer electronic games to licensed facilities is a big turnaround for the company founded and previously owned by billionaire Roberto Ongpin. After taking office, Duterte ordered PAGCOR to not renew PhilWeb’s license after he deemed Ongpin an oligarch who must be destroyed.

Last summer, Duterte told reporters, “I am fighting a monster. The plan is to destroy the oligarchs that are embedded in government.”

PhilWeb was the Philippines’ largest operator of internet gaming cafes at the time with nearly 300 locations. Ongpin has since sold his ownership in an effort to protect the 6,000 workers employed by the company.

Duterte Directives

Duterte’s positions on gambling have been all over the map. Although his war on drugs continues, with a command to law enforcement agencies to take a “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality against suspected underground criminals, he’s largely relaxed his anti-gambling attitude.

That’s largely because of the strong earnings coming in from both PAGCOR casinos and the commercial venues in Manila. The country’s four integrated casino resorts in Entertainment City generated $550 million in gross gaming through the first six months of 2017, a 26 percent surge.

Duterte has directed PAGCOR to sell off its physical assets and become a regulator-only agency. The department is currently in the process of determining assessed values of the Casino Filipino venues.

The concern is how to sell the properties while still maintaining the government’s 50 percent revenue share. Entertainment City casino operators pay just 15 percent on VIP play, and 25 percent on mass market gaming.