Gambling revenue has been on the rise in the Philippines due in part to foreign high-rollers who travel and like to gamble in the Philippines. Despite greater competition from neighboring countries looking to cash in on gambling tourism, the Philippines are hoping to see an increase in gambling revenue for 2019 as well.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) announced in early 2018 that their licensing department will not issue any new brick-and-mortar casino licenses in the Philippines for the foreseeable future. A few months later PAGCOR would announce a 5-year licensing ban for Manila stating that the industry needs time to mature.
PAGCOR President Andrea Rodrigo recently told reporters that “All the integrated casino resorts are doing very well.” In 2018 the gross gaming revenue for the Philippines jumped 13% to about 200 billion pesos (PHP).
President Rodrigo Duterte told reporters in 2018 that he does not like gambling and that no new casinos will be approved for the remainder of his presidency. In addition to the licensing halt, Duterte shelved a $1.5b (USD) integrated casino project in Manila and a $500m (USD) integrated casino resort on Holiday Island.
According to government data, there are nine private casino firms operating 1,580 gaming tables and 9,895 electronic gaming machines. PAGCOR operates several casinos that offer over 470 table games and 9,679 gaming machines.
PAGCOR was created during the martial law years by a Presidential Decree (PD1067-A) and written into law by then President Ferdinand Marcos. Since then the government corporation has helped build schools, relieve natural disaster victims, and fund various other government projects.
A lot of the rural areas in the Philippines have no access to the metropolitan Manila casinos but have benefited greatly by the service that PAGCOR and government have conducted. While President Duterte may not be particularly fond of gambling, but he can’t deny that the revenue from the industry has greatly benefited Filipinos.