PAGCOR Seeking Privatization By 2025 To Split Regulator and Operator Roles

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) is undertaking efforts to privatize 45 of its casinos by the third quarter of 2025, as reported by CNN. As the regulator’s chair announced during the national budget consideration in the House of Representatives on August 14, the regulator reportedly intends t lodi777 o add value to more than 3,000 electronic gaming machines to benefit from the upcoming privatization.

Privatization Supporters:

On the ocassion, PAGCOR chair Alejandro Tengco reportedly said: “Definitely, my trust is to privatize the 45 casinos of PAGCOR and I’m looking at 2025 as my timeline. My goal is to increase the value of what we will privatize.” He reportedly added: ‘‘This will keep going, it can’t be stopped.”

CNN also reports that the PAGCOR chief made the statement after Parañaque’s 1st District Rep. Edwin Olivarez raised the question of the PAGCOR’s dual role of the regulator and operator. As reported, Olivarez suggested privatization of the agency based on the claim that overseas operators generate a higher revenue levels than the PAGCOR-operated casino facilities.

”Golden Egg” Claims:

On the other hand, Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez reportedly noted that the agency should not privatize its casinos  if it expects the increased earnings in the forthcoming years. According to CNN, Rodriguez said: “It seems that everything will be in order in the coming years, so why are we going to sell the goose that lays the golden egg?” He reportedly added:“If we privatize this, then the regularity of the income will be cut short.”

During the budget consideration, PAGCOR vice president Sharon Quintanilla reportedly informed that the operator recorded a$ 1.04 billion total revenue level in 2022. As reported by CNN, the agency expects to generate $1.33 billion in revenues in 2023.

Upgrading Gaming Infrastructure:

As Asian Gaming Brief reports, PAGCOR’s chair Alejandro Tengco announced the plans to upgrade the agency’s gaming infrastructure already at the ASEAN Gaming Summit held in March 2023. He told the source that the agency will upgrade more than 3,000 electronic gaming machine units and update the technical standards regarding these machines to meet the privatization requirements.

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Dual Role Issue:

Addressing the question of PAGCOR’s overlapping role of the regulator and operator, Tengco reportedly said that  “its operations have been the subject of scrutiny by key decision makers and by major gaming industry players, which see the agency as having an unfair advantage over its licensees.” 

The same source reports that the chair argues that the privatization of PAGCOR’s casino operations is “at the forefront of its masterplan” with the agency set to have ”a purely regulatory role” in the future.  He reportedly added: “By focusing on its regulatory functions, PAGCOR will be able to avoid the complexities of running two different shows. It can also streamline its processes and create more revenues that will fund more high-impact government projects.”