DESPITE the absence of traditional high rollers—called ”whales” among gamblers—in local casinos, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) remains confident of growing its gaming revenues back to pre-pandemic levels this year.
A statement quoted Pagcor Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Alejandro H. Tengco as saying that the lifting of travel and movement restrictions has benefitted local casinos.
The easing of mobility restrictions, Tengco said, has also fueled demand for dining, shopping and other outdoor activities that were not possible during the pandemic.
“And so, one year into the term of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., our gross gaming revenues have returned to near the levels of 2019, which was the year Pagcor achieved its all-time high for Philippine GGR [gross gaming revenue] levels,” he said.
“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,” the Pagcor chief added.
Tengco said future growth of the local gaming industry will also be supported by the opening of more integrated resorts including those in Clark.
Further, he said the state gaming agency is also embarking on a modernization program to increase revenues. These efforts include Pagcor’s recent purchase of 3,000 brand new slot machines by January next year.
“We have an agreement in place with a supplier for a revenue-sharing scheme for these new machines which we expect to generate at least P18 billion in revenues in the next five years,” Tengco said.
“We are also modernizing our table games by replacing our old ones with new and more sophisticated gaming tables to attract more players and further increase revenues,” he added.
In August, Pagcor said it will achieve a P75.495 billion in total income this year, about 28.04 percent higher than last year’s P58.96 billion.
About P71.307 billion of Pagcor’s projected total revenues this year would come from its gaming operations, according to the presentation.
Pagcor’s total income in 2019 stood at P79.419 billion, with P75.759 billion coming from gaming operations.
Pagcor’s total income in the first half rose by 35.64 percent to P36.217 billion from P26.7 billion in the same period last year.
Image credits: Lawrence Ruiz via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0