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PAGCOR Announce Plans to Reduce Operator Rates

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The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has announced that it will reduce fees for operators in the Philippines starting from April 1.

The Chairman and CEO of PAGCOR, Alejandro Tengco, revealed the decision in an official statement yesterday (March 19), stating that the rates will be decreased by an average of 5% to attract more operators to invest in the Philippines gambling market.

The remittance rates should then average around 35% of GGR, which is quite significant because when we assumed office in August 2022, the prevailing remittance rate was over 50%. We have gradually lowered them so that by April 1, our rates will be at par with global industry standards.

Alejandro TengcoChairman and CEO of PAGCOR

Additionally, Tengco noted that the move will encourage illegal operators to apply for licenses under PAGCOR. He further emphasized that growth in the Filipino gaming market will depend on three key factors: the establishment and expansion of integrated casinos, the robust performance of the electronic gaming sector, and the potential rewards that could stem from the planned privatization of PAGCOR casinos.

PAGCOR Gears for Privatization

PAGCOR 's casinos are scheduled for privatization by late 2025. The move was preceded by PAGCOR 's initial announcement in September that it would transition into a "purely regulatory" body.

With the privatization, PAGCOR plans to transfer its casino operations to a private bidder and subsequently focus on its regulatory role within the gaming industry. It also stated that the privatization would enable it to facilitate expansions, upgrades, and innovations."

Last month, a rumor from a social media post by PAGCOR employee Gina Samson suggested that PAGCOR was renovating its Casino Filipino branch in Angeles City with ₱500 million ($9.0m). Samson alleged that the renovation was being done to make it appealing to potential buyers post-privatization.

PAGCOR has since refuted the claim. Tengor clarified that PAGCOR would not finance the renovation since it does not own the building of the Casino Filipino branch. Instead, the regulator arranged a deal for the lessor to bear the expenses.

Philippines Targets Second Spot in Asian Gambling Market

Last week, Tengco remarked in an interview that the Philippines is positioned to become a strong player in the Asian gambling industry, possibly overtaking Singapore as the region's second-largest gambling center after Macau.

Tengco estimates that the Philippines gambling market will yield a record high of PHP336 billion (US$6.1 billion) this year, which is 1.67% higher than Singapore's annual GGR estimate of roughly $6 billion.

PAGCOR is set to unveil its own online casino brand, Casinofilipino.com, by the second half of the year. The new iGaming venture is expected to contribute PHP61.75 billion (US$1.10 billion) to the country's gaming revenues this year, further solidifying Tengo's predictions on the Philippines' position in the Asian gambling industry.

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