THE Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) expects revenues to shoot up by 30 percent this year.
In a news briefing during the Asean gaming summit held at Conrad hotel in Pasay City, Pagcor chairperson Andrea Domingo said that the government-run gambling operator’s gross earning from January to February this year was P9.61 billion.
“Our forecast for the whole year for all properties including the private ones is about P155 billion to P160 billion,” Domingo said.
She attributed the good performance to the change in government.
“Now I can say with a lot of confidence that the Philippines is one of the best places to invest now, to go to, because it’s safer than ever,” she said.
She added that President Rodrigo Duterte keeps on reminding government officials to level the playing field.
Another driving force behind the projected increase this year is the international market, particularly with the launching of Pagcor’s online or offshore gaming.
Domingo said they expect the offshore gaming to bring in more revenues.
“I think many of those who have been applying to us in this regard are quite appreciative of the fact that we do try to make a better image of the gaming industry in the Philippines,” she said.
Domingo said two new casinos in the cities of Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue in Cebu will also boost government revenues.
The construction of the $500-million casino in Lapu-Lapu City will start soon.
There is also a pending application from a Hong-Kong based company to operate a casino in Mandaue Cit.
Pagcor requires casino operators outside Metro Manila to put in a minimum investment of $300 million.
Applicants however are required to secure a “no objection” resolution from the host local government Unit (LGU)
“We do not operate anywhere where LGU has not expressly agreed in writing that they are going to host a casino in their place,” Domingo said.
They also require casinos to pay shares for the host city or municipality and the provincial government to help them in their socio-civic programs.