Thursday | Mar. 23, 2017 | 8:00 AM
Chairman Andrea Domingo (seated, 4th from left) with PAGCOR executives, Asia Gaming Brief Managing Directors Rosalind Wade (standing, 3rd from right) and Luis Pereira (standing, 6th from right); City of Dreams Manila Property President Geoff Andres (seated, 3rd from left) and Okada Manila President Steve Wolstenholme (3rd from right) during the first day of the 2017 ASEAN Gaming Summit.
Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) Chairman and CEO Andrea Domingo officially opened the inaugural ASEAN Gaming Summit held in Conrad Manila last March 21- 23, 2017 as the event’s keynote speaker.
The three-day summit served as a venue for the major players in the Asian gaming industry to assess and compare market challenges and opportunities. Among the topics covered during the event include the emergence of integrated resorts, online, mobile and social gaming and sports betting.
Addressing over 300 delegates from the Asian gaming industry, Domingo underscored PAGCOR’s core mandate – including its regulatory functions, revenue generation efforts and nation-building programs.
PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Andrea Domingo addresses summit participants.
The PAGCOR chief said that over 70% of the state-run gaming firm’s revenues go to the national government through the agency’s mandated beneficiaries. “After deducting 72% of our mandatory contributions to the National Treasury and other government entities, we have to share 50 % of our net revenues again to the national government in the form of cash dividends,” she said.
Under Republic Act 7656, Government-owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs) like PAGCOR are required to remit at least 50% of their annual net earnings as cash, stock or property dividends to the national government.
Domingo reported that in 2016, the Philippine gaming industry is fortunate to have seen continuous growth. “In 2016, we recorded P149.12 billion in gross gaming revenues (GGR) from table games, slot machines, electronic games and other gaming offerings, including licensed fees from privately owned integrated resort (IR) operations. This amount is P23.76 billion higher than the P125.36 billion gross gaming revenues in 2015. PAGCOR’s revenues also reached P55.06 billion –a 16.62 % or P7.84 billion leap from the P47.21 billion revenues in 2015,” she said.
Amidst all these positive developments, the PAGCOR chief is optimistic that the state-run gaming firm will continue to perform better, especially with the introduction of its new product called offshore gaming.
(From left) Geoff Andres, Property President of City of Dreams Manila, Stephen Reilly, COO of Resorts World Manila; Steve Wolstenholme, President of Okada Manila; and Thomas Arasi, President and COO of Solaire Resort and Casino listen intently to other speakers at the 2017 ASEAN Gaming Summit.
“With this, we will probably reach the P62 to P65 billion record in annual revenues,” Domingo stated.
She added that the Philippines as a gaming and entertainment destination in Asia has a competitive advantage because Filipinos are innately hospitable people. “We are an open society and we do not discriminate. We have very kind-hearted and happy people who would welcome you in our casinos with a smile even if they are tired. So I think this is one of our assets.”
Aside from underscoring the Philippines’ competitive advantage as a gaming and entertainment jurisdiction in Asia, Domingo said that PAGCOR is strengthening its enforcement and regulatory functions. “We now have 24 hours, seven days a week presence. This initiative yielded us P8 billion more compared to 2015,” she explained.
While the PAGCOR management is now receiving a lot of casino license applications, Domingo explained that that they do not want casinos to proliferate. “There are lots of casino applications that are now on our desk but we are looking at those who have taken the risk earlier and have invested a lot of money already. We do not want too many casinos…that they would have to chop their markets across the country. We assure you we protect our investors although we regulate, we actually regard them as partners in nation building,” Domingo cited.
With regard to its nation building initiatives, PAGCOR’s revenues, according to Domingo is being channelled to various socio-civic programs – aside from the agency’s mandated contributions. “Under the new management, we provided the President with funds that went to free medicine and hospitalization for the poor; free drug rehabilitation services for the 1 million addicts that have surrendered. Now, he’s asking us to help him replace the pernicious 5-6 lending system in the country where small vendors in the market borrow P5 and have to return it in the afternoon at P6 pesos - with an interest of 20% per day.”