Tengco was questioned about Pagcor during the Philippine’s House of Representatives’ Congress on Appropriations meeting yesterday (30 August). Tengco was appointed as the regulator’s new chairman and CEO last week.
During the session, Congressman Rufus Rodriguez asked Tengco whether it is right for Pagcor to exist as both a regulator and an operator.
“It is difficult,” said Rodriguez. “It is a conflict of interest that the same corporation will regulate a business, an operation, wherein they are also operating.
“In other words, there can be no level playing field. Would you agree it is high time for a bill that would create the casino regulatory authority?”
In response, Tengco said that Pagcor being both an operator and a regulator was an issue that had been noted, and agreed that it needed to be addressed.
“This is one of the priorities in the present administration of Pagcor,” said Tengco. “I am of the belief that we really need to distinguish between a regulator and an operator.
“The best way is for us to study this immediately and come up with a decision on the matter. Even the secretary of finance is encouraging Pagcor to let go of the operations of the more-or-less 40 casinos they’re operating in order for us to really draw the line on whether we should be either one.”
In terms of creating a bill for a new casino operator, Tengco said that Pagcor would like to “resolve this” as soon as possible, adding that there will be a particular focus on regulation.
“A decision may be in favour of, let’s say, privatising the casinos… there would be no need for a casino regulator anymore. We will definitely be focusing on regulation.
“We will be submitting a report on what will be our final decision on the matter.”