The integrated gaming-entertainment industry is seen as generating funds that augment the government’s budget for its projects.
In Metro Manila, an upsurge in the industry’s operation in the country’s premier region is also seen as playing a major role in providing people with leisure, entertainment and even comfort.
Andrea Domingo, chairman of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), which oversees the gaming-entertainment industry, said in a recent report that total revenues from the industry in 2017 may reach P160 billion.
Since 1976, Pagcor has been overseeing casino gambling in the country.
It has also operated its own Casino Filipino-branded network nationwide.
In 2008, the government opened the Philippine gambling market to the world.
This move led to the rise of integrated casino-entertainment “resorts” in Manila that compete with gambling sites in Macau, Malaysia and Singapore and even Las Vegas and Australia, according to another recent report.
Newport City was built next to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, followed by the sprawling Entertainment City in a reclaimed land on Manila Bay.
Yet another recent report published in The Manila Times said the Philippine gaming industry was worth P118 billion in terms of gross gaming revenue in the first nine months of 2016, a big leap from the P56-billion GGR in 2012.
Annual financial statements from Pagcor showed an increase in income from gaming revenues in 2017.
The corporation’s record earnings though were placed at P43.385 billion in 2015.
A study by the investment bank Credit Suisse said the country’s gaming ndustry is expected to earn $6 billion (P297.35 billion) by 2018, a possible feat that could place the country among the four biggest gaming industries in the world.
According to retired American Gaming Association (AGA) CEO Frank Fahrenkopf, most of the people who visit gaming and entertainment resorts are “not going for the primary purpose of gambling.”
Fahrenkopf is a Reno native and former Republican National Committee chairman who has been the leader of AGA since 1995 until he resigned on June 30, 2013 at the age of 73.
He said, people basically go to these gaming and entertainment resorts to dine at high-end restaurants, witness spectacular shows and participate in commercial gatherings or conventions.
Today’s biggest destination resorts, it is noted, have even distributed ample space for various sports tournaments.
Such resorts apparently appeal not only to gamblers but also to tourists and visitors.
Indeed, world-class gaming operators have strategically incorporated other services within their premises to appear as one-stop establishments that offer everything that an individual needs.
Giving the concept of Philippine entertainment a new definition, the amusement and fun offered by world-class gaming complexes ranges from dining experiences to enjoyable shows in theaters and cinemas.
Usually, licensed and privately-operated gaming houses are situated close to major transportation hubs.
This, evidently, gives them an advantage since guests can go straight to them for entertainment, which is a good way to skip road traffic.
Aside from offering a vast selection of food, several casinos also work hard to highlight their entertainment features.
Such features include movies and plays, which lure more guests who wish to live life at its best through the latest hits that they can watch comfortably.
Elevating leisure levels
Today’s mode of family leisure and entertainment has entered a new level.
“Sin cities,” as other people may refer to gaming places, might not seem a good choice for a family vacation but world-class gaming operators have long included kid-friendly entertainment features to avoid the labeling.
Operators have also included amenities like swimming pools, children-oriented attractions and hotel rooms that are big enough to accommodate extra family members.
Socializing and catching up with friends apparently are also among the common reasons for visiting an entertainment resort.
Hanging out with acquaintances for coffee or watching a sporting event can be a memorable time, as casinos offer innumerable ways to unwind.
Fuel for tourism
Many Filipinos and foreigners had their first taste of Las Vegas and Macau casinos in the Philippines when the Solaire Resort & Casino started its operations in Entertainment City.
With ample evidence to support the claim that the gaming industry impacts on tourism, the industry’s development is viewed as a recent phenomenon.
Similarly in Metro Manila, the Resorts World Manila in Pasay City has become popular in the integrated resort industry, as have the City of Dreams Manila in Parañaque City and the Midas Hotel and Casino in Pasay City.
Clark, which used to be an American military base, has morphed into a multi-purpose location in the center of Luzon.
It now houses several resorts like the Royce Casino, Widus Resort, Casino Casablanca, Fontana Resort and Midori Casino.
Although there is an evident connection between casinos and tourism, gaming hotels do not solely rely on tourists in terms of their expansion in the market.
According to the United Kingdom-based specialist consultancy, The Tourism Company, most casinos cater primarily to their immediate urban markets.