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Philippine Gambling Industry Approaches Pre-Covid Revenue Levels

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Alejandro Tengco, the CEO and chairman of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), has announced that the nation's gambling sector is nearly performing at its pre-pandemic levels.

Industry Boosted by Easing Restrictions

During a recent speech, Tengco noted that easing travel and movement restrictions have given a boost to the sectors of leisure, travel, and entertainment. According to Tengco, this revival is poised to continue propelling and growing Phillippines' gaming industry for the foreseeable future.

The Philippines was subjected to stringent measures throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. This included tight controls on international travel and the shutdown of terrestrial gaming establishments.

Now that these restrictions have been fully removed, the nation’s gambling industry has seen a robust recovery. Tengco points out that the industry’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) is nearing the figures of 2019, a year marked by record earnings for PAGCOR before the onset of the pandemic.

PAGCOR disclosed its financial results for the first nine months of 2023 last week. During this period, revenues hit PHP55.95 billion, with the bulk of these earnings stemming from gaming and operations, accounting for PHP51.66 billion.

Record GGR Expected in 2023

Tengco is optimistic that if the current trends persist, the Philippine gaming industry may reach new heights in GGR for 2023.

Today, we expect the 2023 GGR to match, if not surpass, our 2019 record. Not bad considering that many of our traditional high rollers and junkets have not fully returned, but our domestic players and the influx of new tourists have filled the void.

Alejandro TengcoPAGCOR CEO and Chairman

Integrated Resorts Set to Boost Industry

The promise of more integrated resorts is seen as a boon for the industry's expansion in the Philippines. Alejandro Tengco emphasized the importance of projects such as those underway in Clark. The Clark Freeport and Special Economic Zone, once a U.S. airbase in Pampanga, has transformed into a coveted tourist and entertainment destination.

Tengco foresees Clark emerging as a leading gaming and tourism hotspot within this decade. He remarked on the evident potential when touring Clark, from its infrastructure to its tourist attractions and the emerging commercial districts.

In terms of PAGCOR’s initiatives, Tengco revealed the launch of a modernization program aimed at increasing revenues. This includes the introduction of 3,000 new slot machines by January 2024, with a revenue-sharing agreement already in place with a supplier. Tengco anticipates this move will generate a minimum of PHP18.00 billion in the next five years.

PAGCOR is also revitalizing its table games by adding new options to attract additional players and elevate revenue. Moreover, Tengco touched on the progress of a new online platform. In July, the agency announced its entry into the online gambling market with the future launch of Casinofilipino.com, slated to go live in the first quarter of 2024.

The process to secure a system for the platform is underway, with Tengco asserting this will secure PAGCOR a significant portion of the highly profitable online market.

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