Pagcor imposes 5-year moratorium on new Metro Manila casinos
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) will stop issuing licenses to new casinos in Metro Manila for 5 years to give existing players "breathing space" to mature their market.
In response to a position letter addressed to the gaming regulator, Pagcor Chairperson Andrea Domingo said her office has approved a 5-year moratorium on new casinos in Metro Manila.
"In the Manila area, we listened to our investors. They gave us a position paper to give breathing space for the market space to mature in the NCR (National Capital Region) so we listened," Domingo said in a press conference on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Gaming Summit in Pasay City on Tuesday, March 21.
Domingo said the moratorium already started early this year. (READ: Razon bets on better PH gaming climate in 2016)
There are about 18 casinos in Metro Manila, 3 of which are operated and owned by Pagcor. Okada Manila in Pasay City is the latest addition to the list.
Domingo said her office plans to implement a policy limiting the number of casinos to one per city or per province.
"I think one per big city or one per big province is enough. We require a no-objection resolution from the local government unit (LGU). We do not operate anywhere where the LGU has not expressively agreed in writing. We also pay shares to the host city, the host municipality," she said.
Privatization of Pagcor casinos
Domingo also said she will not oppose the proposal of the Department of Finance (DOF) to privatize Pagcor casinos.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III earlier proposed that Pagcor let private firms run casinos and just focus on regulating the industry.
"I am not opposing that. This usually takes a long period of time. I just can't sit back and wait, so we worked for our own casinos and made them profitable starting January this year. Privatizing it is a business opportunity and we are going to seize it," Domingo said.
She added that Pagcor has yet to study the valuations of its casinos and discuss these with the DOF.
"We are still at that point where we will have to decide the valuation of the 46 casinos we have, how we are gonna sell it, and at what price," Domingo said.
Pagcor expects P155 billion to P160 billion in revenue for the entire Philippine gaming industry this year, which is a high single-digit growth from that of 2016's P149 billion. – Rappler.com