Government plans to sell casinos being operated by Philippine Amusement and Gaming. Corp. (Pacgor) could be implemented starting next year a bid to make the state-owned firm a purely regulatory body, a Cabinet official said.
“Those casinos being operated directly by Pagcor I think should be privatized first. Maybe 17 of them,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd told reporters during the weekend.
He said the Finance department was planning to complete studies this year, figure out the privatization method, and begin selling the casinos next year. Officials earlier said that bids could be solicited before the end of this year.
“[The casinos] should be [assessed]one by one because everything is very different from the others,” Dominguez said.
“I think there is no way they can compete [against privately owned casinos]if we don’t privatize. They might actually lose their customers,” he added.
“We might as well do it now… That is why we have to analyze how much revenues come from their winnings as against how much of the revenues come from the fees that are being paid.”
Dominguez also admitted that the privatization of Pagcor-operated casinos would take several years.
“Its 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,” he said.
Pagcor has said that it would support the Finance department’s plan to privatise all government-owned casinos, which total 46 at present.
Pagcor netted P1.31 billion in the first quarter after paying P6.47 billion to the Bureau of the Treasury and remitting P1.55 billion in taxes to the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
As a government-owned and -controlled corporation (GOCC), Pacgor is required to remit at least half of its net profit to the national government pursuant to Republic Act 7656 or the GOCC Dividend Law.