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Menardo Guevarra has called for an executive order to ban casinos ever on the island despite the fact PAGCOR had backed the project. Tere is talk that if Galaxy can come up with certain measures that Duterte’s administration will find favourable, there could be a chance.


Galaxy had said the project would be an environmentally friendly resort with about 200 villas and 50 to 60 gaming tables for the casino. Meanwhile Landing International has been given an extension by PAGCOR to find alternative land for its provisional gaming licence it received back in 2018.


Landing was given a provisional gaming licence for a US$1.5bn IR in Entertainment City called NayonLanding. It broke ground in August 2018 but the project was sacked and Landing Resorts was given six months from September 2019 to find an alternative site for its planned resort and theme park or risk losing its provisional licence. Duterte announced last year that no casino would be permitted at Nayong Pilipino Foundation’s planned ‘cultural park’ project within Entertainment City in Parañaque, Manila. But due to the lockdown and travel restrictions it has been difficult for the company to identify a new development area and the company was recently granted a suspension.


PAGCOR Up until Covid-19 derailed the Philippine


economy the country had not seen such rapid growth since the 1950s. Te country was on the up and up.


Prior to Covid the estimations for GDP growth in the Philippines for this year was around 6.1 per cent. Tis is now estimated to be -2 per cent.


Te Department of Finance is now re-looking at the plan to privatise PAGCOR and the Philippine Charity Sweepstake Office (PCSO) in a bid to raise much needed additional revenues to cover debts incurred during the pandemic.


For 2020 the Philippines is set to borrow P3 trillion, the bulk of which is to come from domestic sources, which will be used to plug the deficit in the government’s budget. By the end of August, the Philippines outstanding debt due to borrowings was P9.615 trillion which is expected to reach P10.16 trillion by the end of the year.


Te privatisation plan has resurfaced a few times over the last few years stemming from proposals to privatise PAGCOR’s casinos leaving the company to solely focus on regulatory issues. Te past plans were apparently pushed to one side due to the growing gaming revenues the PAGCOR casinos generated.


Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon currently says privatisation is preferred rather than imposing higher or new taxes next year and has been backed by Finance Minister Carlos Dominguez who wants to privatise PAGCOR and transfer small town lottery to private operators. Drilon says the government could collect around P300bn in additional revenue annually by privatising the gaming industry.


With funding urgently required it’s a hot topic. Plus, many feel that PAGCOR is juggling too many balls to function correctly. Te company provides a variety of functions. It not only acts as a regulator and oversees the privately operated casinos, it also regulates e-game cafes, sports betting and electronic bingo outlets.


PAGCOR regulates all gaming activities in Philippines except for the lottery, sweepstakes and horse racing and Cagayan zone gambling. It is a government owned corporation created in 1977 by President Ferdinand Marcos to control the casino market and curb illegal casino operations which were mushrooming in the market.


Te company operates under the law known as the PAGCOR Charter which gives the company the right to regulate, operate, authorise and licence games of chance, games of cards, number games and casino gaming.


Tere are currently around 26,000 electronic bingo machines plus 200 e-gaming cafes throughout the Philippines. It also has its own casino operations via the Casino Filipino brand plus 33 satellite casinos mostly located in hotels. In addition, PAGCOR regulates the offshore gaming operations referred to as POGO


NEWSWIRE / INTERACTIVE / MARKET DATA P71


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