Philippines Casino Regulator Sees Revenue Drop 50 Percent, PAGCOR Income Totals $15.4M

Posted on: April 29, 2020, 01:41h. 

Last updated on: April 29, 2020, 02:33h.

The Philippines casino regulator PAGCOR said its first-quarter revenue was slashed in half due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as gaming properties remain closed throughout the country.

Philippines casino revenue PAGCOR
Would-be gamblers are being turned away at Philippines casino locations, including government-owned venues like the one seen here in Cebu City. (Image: Pinterest)

PAGCOR, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, revealed net income in the first three months of 2020 totaled PHP 777.44 million ($15.44 million). That’s down 49.9 percent compared with the first quarter in 2019, when the gaming operator and regulator collected approximately $31 million.

Casinos across the country have faced closures on President Rodrigo Duterte’s orders in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The four commercial casino resorts in the Manila capital – City of Dreams, Okada, Solaire, and Resorts World – remain closed through at least May 15.

We can only expect recovery when we are allowed to resume operations. No operations, no revenues,” said PAGCOR Chair Andrea Domingo.

The World Health Organization reports that the Philippines has 7,777 positive results of COVID-19, and the disease is responsible for 511 deaths. The Philippines had 198 new cases within the last 24 hours.

No Gaming, No Taxes

PAGCOR regulates commercial casinos, and also operates its own gaming under its Filipino Casino brand. The agency additionally operates smaller satellite brick-and-mortar casinos.

Gross gaming revenue (GGR) in the first three months of the year totaled roughly $340 million, a decline of 5.72 percent.

Duterte ordered the integrated resorts in Manila to suspend operations in mid-March. He recently extended the order to May 15, the president warning residents, “We are all at risk, but do not increase the odds of getting it. Be patient.”

PACOR collects gaming taxes from casinos in Manila, and in the economic freeport zones of Clark and Poro Point. The agency additionally receives revenue from Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO), which operate online casinos that are accessible only to those located outside the country.

PAGCOR is required to share 50 percent of its net revenue with the federal government. The agency is the Philippines’ largest tax contributor, behind only the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Bureau of Customs.

When Duterte decides the country is ready to reopen, Domingo has suggested casinos first begin by only allowing VIP players access. The high rollers, she believes, are most critical to the gaming industry’s recovery.

Sale Forthcoming?

Filipino lawmakers earlier this month suggested PAGCOR should consider unloading its owned casinos and satellites. Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said selling the assets would help the federal government fight COVID-19.

The government does not have to look far to raise additional revenues. There are low-hanging fruits the government can immediately tap to provide the much-needed resources for our country to survive this pandemic,” Drilon stated.

There are currently 10 Casino Filipino properties, one each in Angeles, Bacolod, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Mactan, Malate, Mimosa, Olongapo, and Tagaytay. There are 33 satellite gaming venues, the vast majority located in Luzon – the largest and most populated island in the Philippines.