Philippine Gambling Revenue up 15% Year on Year

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The Philippines continues to see its gambling industry rebound, despite having experienced significant problems overcoming COVID-19. The latest figures show a respectable recovery, with the country still looking at improved revenue before the end of the year.

Getting Back on Track

In the third quarter of 2023, the Philippine casino industry exhibited a robust performance, generating gross gaming revenue (GGR) amounting to PHP56.85 billion (US$1.03 billion). This represented a marginal uptick from the previous quarter's PHP56.61 billion (US$1.02 billion) and a notable 15.1% increase compared to the same period the previous year. These figures were disclosed by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR), the regulatory body overseeing the country's casino sector.

Commercial casinos licensed by PAGCOR contributed significantly to the third-quarter GGR, reaching just under PHP51.91 billion (US$936.45 million). This marked a substantial 16% surge from the PHP44.75 billion (US$807.3 million) recorded in the corresponding quarter of the preceding year. It's noteworthy that the reported casino GGR excludes revenue generated from bingo operations and electronic games parlors.

Related: PAGCOR Revenue Gains 40% Through September

Among the commercial casinos, Clark experienced the most significant year-on-year rise in quarterly GGR, boasting a 45.8% gain to surpass PHP8.88 billion (US$160.19 million). Meanwhile, the Entertainment City resorts in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, recorded a GGR of PHP42.66 billion (US$769.58 million) for the three months ending September 30. This represented an 11.5% increase compared to the same period in the previous year.

PAGCOR-operated gaming, which includes Casino Filipino venues, contributed to the overall third-quarter GGR with PHP4.94 billion (US$89.11 million), reflecting 6.8% growth from the prior-year period.

Unclear Gaming Future

In a statement made in July, Alejandro Tengco, the chairman and chief executive of PAGCOR, projected that the Philippine gaming sector could achieve a minimum annual GGR of PHP272.74 billion (US$4.92 billion) for the entire year of 2023. This optimistic forecast factored in revenue from bingo operations and electronic games parlors, aiming to restore the industry to pre-COVID-19 levels.

Tengco further emphasized that, based on anticipated tourism traffic, the country's casino revenue might double by the year 2028, underlining the positive trajectory and potential growth of the Philippine gaming landscape.

The casinos may get a boost through legislative measures. In response to concerns about criminal activities linked to the Philippine Online Gaming Operator (POGO) segment, lawmakers in the Philippines are deliberating the possibility of eliminating online gambling. While no decision has been reached, the discussions hold the potential to significantly impact the gaming industry's overall revenue.

The move reflects a broader effort to address issues related to illegal activities associated with online gambling, emphasizing the delicate balance between regulating the industry and mitigating associated risks. The outcome of these deliberations will likely shape the future landscape of the Philippine gaming sector, with potential consequences for both operators and the economy.