Major developments are expected within the next year in the Philippine gaming industry.
According to a government announcement, 17 land based casinos that are currently operated by PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation), are scheduled to be privatising.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez told in an interview to the Philippine Inquirer: “That should be one by one because every casino is very different from the other, and then, we’ll figure out the method of privatization. “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. If we don’t privatize, they might actually lose their customers. We might as well do it now. And the revenue stream, that’s why we have to analyze how much revenue come from their winnings as against how much of the revenues come from the fees that are being paid.And secondly, of course, it will remove the conflict of interest when you are the regulator as well
Last year, President Duterte has told PAGCOR to go ahead and privatize its casinos. The reason is that there are complaints from private casinos, as PAGCOR acts as both a regulator and a casino operator. If these changes are implemented, it will be interesting to see how Dafabet, the biggest bookmaker in Philippines, will react.
On the other side, PAGCOR has expressed its concern that the government could be set to lose as much as $475m in revenue contributions each year if they chose to move on casino privatization.
During the last 10 years, PAGCOR has proven to be a quite generous source of revenue for the Philippine government.
In the first quarter of 2017, PAGCOR reported a rise od 26.75% in income from its gaming operations when compared to the same period of 2016, jumping to $285.3m.