Resorts World attack seen slashing Pagcor revenues
The government’s slice of proceeds from the Philippine gaming industry may take a hit this year, no thanks to the arson attack on one of the country’s largest casinos, the Resorts World Manila development, jointly owned by Andrew Tan’s Alliance Global Inc. (AGI) and Malaysia’s Genting Group.
In a text message to the Inquirer, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) chair and CEO Andrea Domingo revised her forecast for the gross gaming revenues (GGR) that the casino regulator and operator would bring into the state’s coffers this year.
“We will probably make P150 billion,” she said, paring down her forecast in March that the government would be raking in P160-billion GGR by the end of 2017. This would represent a 6-percent reduction in Pagcor’s revenues if the numbers unfold according to her expectations.
Still, the Pagcor chief pointed out that the agency—which regulates large privately run casinos while operating smaller outlets of its own—was implementing measures to mitigate the decline in revenues caused by the nearly month-long suspension of Resorts World’s operations following the June 2 arson attack by a former client that resulted in 38 fatalities including the assailant himself.
AGI earlier disclosed its Pasay City casino complex has lost an average of P60 million a day during the time it was closed.
Domingo pointed out the closure of other Pagcor-owned properties this year along with the continued non-operation of other key casino outlets may also impact the agency’s bottom line.
“But we will try to achieve the original target in spite of [Resorts World], the closure of Casa Blanca, Tagum and Iligan, while Fontana and Fort Ilocandia remain closed,” she said.
At the forecasted P150-billion GGR level, Pagcor would be recording a flat growth from the 2016 level of P149 billion.
The gradual rollout of casino operations at the delayed Okada Manila integrated resort is also expected to contribute significantly to the industry’s GGR this year.
“In 2016, we recorded P149.12 billion in gross gaming revenues or GGR from table games, slot machines, electronic games and other gaming offerings, including licensed fees from privately owned integrated resort operations,” Domingo said in March. “This amount is P23.76 billion higher than the P125.36 gross gaming revenues in 2015.”
For Pagcor-operated casinos alone, Domingo had earlier expected 2017 to be a banner year, especially with the sharp uptick in revenues in the first quarter.
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