Philippine Gambling Sector Needs Four Years To Reach Pre-COVID-19 Revenue, PAGCOR Chief Says

Posted on: July 26, 2022, 10:50h. 

Last updated on: July 26, 2022, 01:06h.

The Philippines is working on getting rid of COVID-19 this year and still has some difficulty. As a result, the country’s gaming industry will need at least four more years to return to where it was before the pandemic began.

Solaire Casino in the Philippines
The Solaire Casino in the Philippines at night. The country’s gaming industry is recovering from COVID-19 but will need a few more years to get back on its feet. (Image: Getty Images)

Cecilio, PAGCOR’s licensing and regulatory group chief, told Reuters on Tuesday that the Philippines needs another four years for its gaming industry to rebound completely. That, of course, is contingent upon no more pandemics.

In 2019, gross gaming revenue (GGR) in the Philippines was $4.6 billion. The following year, the figure dropped to around $1.80 billion. At the end of last year, casinos in the Philippines began to reemerge from their government-ordered hibernation. However, just a couple of weeks later, they again faced closure, as people ignored health standards.

Now, with most things back to normal in the country, the gaming industry can start rebuilding. Patience is going to be paramount, though, according to Daniel Cecilio of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR).

Recovery A Long Way Off

Last year delivered a slight uptick, with GGR reaching $2.04 billion. Subsequently, the figure closed at $703.56 million for the first quarter of this year. If the Philippines can continue or improve that amount, it could rebound to about $3 billion by the end of the year.

Cecilio believes the country’s gaming industry will steadily grow over the next few years. He predicts that in 2026, GGR for the country’s entire gaming industry may reach $4.61 billion. Of that amount, he predicts that land-based casinos will contribute $2.63 billion.

Currently, there are 51 casinos in the country. Of these, PAGCOR operates 38, with the others belonging to private companies. In addition, new investments in gaming properties are coming from domestic and international sources, which will fuel expansion over the next few years.

PAGCOR Continues Rebuilding Communities

Despite its significant drop in revenue, PAGCOR has continued to contribute financially to the government and various communities. One of its projects includes the development of multi-purpose evacuation centers across the country.

Typhoons and volcanoes are just two of the natural disasters the Philippines faces, and they became the catalyst for PAGCOR’s projects. A few months ago, it announced the construction of a center in Lemery in Batangas, designed to provide housing for families still recovering from the eruption of the Taal Volcano in 2020.

PAGCOR has also inaugurated the first evacuation center, located in Barangay San Gregorio in the province of Laguna. It offers housing, kitchens, storage facilities, and other options. The project cost around $900,000 to construct and is just one of the centers PAGCOR wants to build in 76 locations across the Philippines.

By the time it’s done, it will have spent around $63 million on the projects.