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MACAU BUSINESS
Easy does it…
A conservative approach to the Philppines gaming by Max V. de Leon in Manila
industry has put it in a strong position to weather
the financial crisis and as we find out, they’re
doing it with a smile
W
hen the global financial crisis
reared its ugly head and wrought
havoc on the global economy in
the second half of 2008,
unaudited financial reports
revealed that the state-owned monopoly, the
Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor
Corp) had raked in US$629.79 million.
Rafael ‘Butch’ Francisco, its president and COO
told Macau Business this represented a 6 percent
jump on 2007 revenues of US$590.85 million. In
just 8 years revenues have more than doubled from
US$304.8 million in 2000.
Francisco says the company sees no need to
downgrade or revise its original target of US$646.8
million set a few years ago.
Steady as she goes
The Pagcor boss says their strategy has been
simple: “Our expansion has been conservative, we
have only operated 13 casinos in the past decade.
We are not like Macau or Singapore or Las Vegas
who keep building casinos. We want to create the
demand but we certainly don’t over supply,’’ he says.
The Pagcor chief notes that even if they keep
surpassing targets by 6 to 8 percent each year, they
will not be tempted into grand expansion plans.
The company’s next expansion will only begin in
2010 with the multi-billion-dollar Bagong Nayong
Pilipino- Manila Bay Entertainment City project
(please see related story).
Pagcor is confident it can weather the global
fiscal storm through a mix of offerings including
beaches, golf courses, shopping centers, spas,
wellness and medical facilities, a strategic location,
and, of course, says Francisco, world famous
Philippine hospitality.
“We are not really purely gambling, like Macau.
Las Vegas also started as a gambling state, but they
were able to reverse the trend. Macau is also doing
that now,’’ he says.
Gaming with a smile
Philippine Tourism Secretary Ace Durano says the
gaming industry is attracting foreign visitors.
14 APRIL 2009
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