The corporation that is fully owned and managed by the government in the Philippines under the Office of the President, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), has announced its plans to privatize 45 of its self-operated casinos in the upcoming years.
In July, PAGCOR also announced the launch of a casino upgrade program that would prepare the venues for the upcoming privatizations by enhancing their current value. The news was brought by chair and chief executive officer, Alejandro H. Tengco, during an important speech held at the Asian IR Expo + Global Gaming Expo (G2E) Asia 2023 that took place in Macau.
According to Tengco, the corporation that was created during the Martial Law era to put the growth of illegal casinos on halt aims to finish the privatization process by the third quarter of 2025.
During his speech at the deliberations for the national budget, Tengco further explained that the main goal of the procedure was to boost the value of the casinos they plan to include in the process.
The same casino privatizations are expected to attract fresh capital fresh and advanced technologies while simplifying expansion and upgrades, and seeing more technology innovations introduced to the PAGCOR.
Why Sell the Goose That Lays the Golden Egg?
Rufus Rodriguez, the representative of Northern Mindanao’s first-class highly urbanized city, Cagayan de Oro, expressed his opinion regarding the upcoming changes. According to Rodriguez, PAGCOR does not currently have a solid reason to privatize its casinos provided it plans to see its assets keep generating greater income in the future.
The representative added that the future was looking “in order” for the corporation, which is why selling “the goose that lays the golden egg” might not be a good idea. He further added that privatization would “cut short” the actual regularity of the corporation’s income.
For 2024, PAGCOR has projected a total income of ₱80.28 billion ($4.72 billion).
New Anti-Fraud Logo for PAGCOR
Together with its goal to see all 45 of its self-operated gambling venues go through privatization, the corporation that recently introduced a fresh regulatory framework for offshore gaming licensees aimed at combating illegal activities also announced a new anti-fraud logo.
According to Tengco, close to 1,000 fake licenses are currently used to operate without complying with legal requirements worldwide, the Philippines included. The newly chosen logo will be used as a new tool in the fight against fraudulent transactions and also as part of the corporation’s rebranding.
Last month, PAGCOR confirmed its plans to create a dedicated Casino Filipino brand that would become accessible at a global level in 2024, offering access to live casino games, online casino, and sports betting options.
In June, the domestic watchdog expressed its intention to issue show-cause orders and fines of up to $50,000 to Philippine offshore gaming operators that allowed third parties to run their operations under their own licenses.