At the close of the 2018 first quarter of the year, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation is reporting that net income is down across the board. Government data is showing a drop of revenue for the first time in recent years. Reports are indicating that the overall net income growth is slower than last year’s 26.9% growth rate. PAGCOR officials have not given a reason for the slowdown but many people are already starting to speculate.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) is the regulator for the gambling industry in the Philippines. PAGCOR regulates an estimated 90% of the country, while the First Cagayan Resort & Leisure Corporation and other smaller regulators regulate the less populated areas that make up the other approximated 10%. PAGCOR was created by the government during the Martial Law years by PD-1067-A and set up to regulate a legal gambling operation and combat illegal activities. Since PAGCOR has started regulating the gambling industry across the Philippines, they have been able to raise money to build over 4,000 classrooms for schools, helped with aid for several natural disasters, and generate revenue for other community needs. PAGCOR has made it their mission to make the Philippines a gaming mecca and with industrial projects such as Entertainment City, it is well on its way.
In 2015, PAGCOR claimed an annual revenue of P47.21 billion, and in 2016 an annual revenue of P55.06 billion. In recent years, PAGCOR has been seeing gambling across the Philippines on the rise with huge developments, more casinos, and more tourism generated from those developments. However, in the last few years developments have stalled or been shot down by current president Rodrigo Duterte and many of the tourist areas are now facing modern city problems. 2017, PAGCOR’s annual revenue was recorded at P57.34 billion, still showing signs of a slight growth. Gambling revenue is a life-line for many of the Filipino people who are struggling. A lot of PAGCOR’s revenue goes to helping the unfortunate and providing community support in times of need.
Recently PAGCOR started issuing Philippine offshore gaming operator licenses (POGO), allowing Philippine online casinos to operate offshore to earn revenue for themselves and for PAGCOR. PAGCOR recently set a goal to obtain PHP6 billion in additional revenue from the issuing of their POGO licenses. PAGCOR officials said that goal should be easily obtainable since 53 firms were awarded licenses and are now up and running. Offshore gaming licenses are something new for PAGCOR, for many years online casinos were not allowed to operate within the Philippines except for in the Cagayan Valley. The First Resort & Leisure Corporation has been issuing offshore permits for years, but operators are not allowed to offer their services to Filipino residents.
Disasters In The Philippines
2017 was a rough year for the Philippines who suffered from several major natural disasters and many other community disasters. There were at least 3 earthquakes that injured over 300 people combined and other natural disasters such as typhoons and tropical storms. Some areas were even ravaged by flood waters. Natural disasters are no stranger to the Philippines who have suffered many over the years. While not many natural disasters have affected the gambling mecca of Manila City, they have had their own share of problems. An attack on Resorts World Manila left dozens of people killed or injured when a gunman attacked the casino.
PAGCOR Facing Legal Problems
A cause-oriented group of people are currently seeking the Supreme Court hold PAGCOR responsible for rethinking their offshore gaming licenses. Since several other smaller jurisdictions could offer offshore gaming permits, it generated much-needed revenue for those areas and local governments. Some businesses even moved into those areas for that sole purpose but now that PAGCOR offers the same license, there is no need for these big companies to have subsidiaries in those rural communities. The First Cagayan Resort & Leisure Corporation has reported that over 50 of their normal 150 licenses have already been replaced by PAGCOR’s new POGO license. The group is pushing for PAGCOR to be held in contempt for usurpation of judicial powers. Once PAGCOR initiated their POGO licensing scheme it was soon followed by a crackdown on the e-game industry. This crackdown might be what sparked the groups interest but that will be decided in court, however, many people are not expecting the group to get very far with their case.