The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) is taking strategic measures to enhance the value of its Casino Filipino properties ahead of their privatization as gaming venues. Pagcor’s Chairman and CEO, Alejandro H. Tengco, announced plans to invest in the modernization of Casino Filipino’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Cybersecurity infrastructure.
This modernization initiative aims to position the Casino Filipino facilities as a competitive force in both domestic and international markets. Pagcor plans to introduce Casino Filipino Online, upgrade over 3,000 electronic gaming machines (EGMs), and update the Pagcor Technical Standards for EGMs as part of these efforts.
Tengco emphasized that by focusing on the ICT and cybersecurity upgrades, the corporation can attract new capital and advanced technologies that will facilitate expansions, upgrades, and innovations, ultimately leading to greater competitiveness and growth.
Divesting self-operated casinos
Furthermore, Pagcor reaffirmed its commitment to divest its self-operated casinos across the country, redirecting its focus solely to its regulatory role. This strategic shift will enable the corporation to streamline its processes and generate more revenues to fund high-impact government projects.
The planned sale of the government-owned casinos is expected to raise P80 billion, according to earlier estimates by Pagcor. The move follows recommendations from the Governance Commission for Government-Owned or Controlled Corporations (GCG), urging the separation of commercial and regulatory functions to address existing conflicting roles within Pagcor.
As Pagcor advances its modernization plans, the Philippines’ gaming ndustry continues to flourish, presenting immense potential for growth and revenue generation.
Transition to a regulatory-only capacity
Earlier this year investment bannk Morgan Stanley expressed concern about the Philippines government’s asking price for its state-owned land-based casinos, valuing them at nearly $1.5 billion. The Southeast Asian country owns and operates 41 casinos and satellite gaming venues under the Casino Filipino brand, and the government has been considering divesting its gaming operations for several years to transition PAGCOR from a regulatory-operator role to a regulatory-only capacity. However, the asking price of (US) $1.47 billion might be too steep to attract potential buyers, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley. PAGCOR casinos generated PHP37 billion ($680 million) in gross gaming revenue (GGR) in 2019, but last year’s GGR dropped to just PHP15.8 billion/ (US)$290 million due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the optimistic 2023 gaming outlook projected by PAGCOR, Morgan Stanley analysts believe the asking price may deter buying interest, raising questions about the feasibility of the government’s divestiture plans.