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Pagcor to enter igaming sector with online casino launch

| By Robert Fletcher
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) has announced plans to launch its first online casino, marking its entrance into the igaming sector.

Due to go live in the first quarter of 2024, Casinofilipino.com will allow consumers across the Philippines to legally gamble online through Pagcor.

Traditionally an operator of land-based casinos, Pagcor said it will aim to replicate the sights and sounds of its physical casinos on Casinofilipino.com.

“This will bring several benefits and opportunities such as increased revenue, extended reach and market expansion, cost efficiency and enhanced customer engagement,” Pagcor chairman and CEO Alejandro Tengco said. Launching the online casino would allow for additional revenue. 

“It will allow players to interact with the digital counterparts of traditional casino games. This will also transcend physical boundaries and will enable users from around the world to interact and participate in virtual environments. 

“It can reach a global audience and can establish a presence in virtual communities of avid gamers. It will likewise offer an opportunity to tap into new markets and diversify its customer base.”

Pagcor’s modernisation plan

Tengco said the online casino launch forms part of Pagcor’s wider modernisation plan. This will also cover its established land-based activities across the country.

Pagcor has already taken steps to modernise its slot machine operations, which Tengco said would help sustain growth momentum.

“We have already taken the preliminary steps and entered into negotiations with different manufacturers for the modernisation of our slot machines,” Tengco said. “I expect our customers to have a renewed gaming experience.

“We endeavour to enhance our game offerings by replacing our old machines with a total of 3,500 brand-new units under a lease agreement with the manufacturer.”

The plan also includes the development of IT programmes and systems to help fine tune the Pagcor casino management system.

“This will play a pivotal role in improving Pagcor’s casinos in terms of operational efficiency, enhancing customer experience, facilitating real-time reporting and analytics, ensuring security and fraud prevention, optimising financial management and streamlining compliance requirements,” Tengco said.

Clamping down on illegal activities

Expansion into igaming comes as Pagcor ramps up efforts to tackle illegal gambling in the Philippines.

Last month, Pagcor carried out a raid against Xinchuang Network Technology Inc (Pogo). The organisation decided to infiltrate the operator after receiving information of alleged criminal activity happening at the site.

Pagcor in May also cancelled a licence belonging to Sun Valley Clark. The organisation said the company’s facilities have been used for illegal activities. This came after CGC Technologies, which occupied six buildings within Sun Valley’s hub, also had its licence revoked. An investigation revealed that it had participated in illegal operations.

Meanwhile, among the recent changes, Pagcor has joined the new Clark Security Advisory Council. This was to support its effort to tackle illegal gambling.

Revenue growth in H1

The announcement comes after Pagcor this week also posted revenue figures for the first half of 2023. The organisation said revenue returned to near pre-pandemic levels in the six months to 30 June.

Revenue reached P36.21bn (£513.73m/592.64m/$664.11m), up 35.6% from P26.7bn at the same point in 2022. Pagcor also noted that the H1 total was just 6.7% short of P38.81bn in the first half of 2019 – the year before the pandemic began.

The organisation said the rise in total revenue was driven by a jump in the total Philippines industry’s gross gaming revenue. In the first half, this hit P136.37bn, an increase of 48.7% from P91.72bn last year.

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