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PAGCOR slams privatisation “disinformation”

| By Marese O'Hagan
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has criticised “disinformation” surrounding a rumour that it would spend ₱500m (£7.1m/€8.3m) to repair its Casino Filipino branch in Angeles City ahead of privatisation.
Pagcor privatisation

In a statement on the agency’s website, Alejandro H Tengco, chairman of PAGCOR addressed a social media post made by PAGCOR employee Gian Samson. Samson had said that PAGCOR would spend the money to improve the casino for potential buyers, who may want to purchase it after it has been privatised.

The plan to privatise PAGCOR’s casinos will be implemented in late 2025. This is so PAGCOR will have enough time to address the needs of those affected by the move, according to the statement.

Tengco denied the rumour, stating that PAGCOR would not spend any money on the renovation.

“There is no truth in Mr Samson’s allegations because the said renovation will be borne by the lessor,” said Tengco. “Pagcor will not spend a single cent on the renovation.”

The chairman added that the renovation forms part of PAGCOR’s plan to improve facilities for customers at the Casino Filipino.

“We do not own the building where CF Angeles stands, so we had an agreement with the lessor to cover the renovation costs because they are the owner of the place and PAGCOR is only renting,” Tengco continued.

“This is also the agreement we will make with the Bacolod branch as part of our effort to make our casinos more attractive for the benefit of not only PAGCOR but also the government.”

Currently there are eight Casino Filipino facilities active across the Philippines. PAGCOR is set to launch into online gambling with Casinofilipino.com during Q1 2024.

Further criticism

Tengco went one step further to criticise an allegation made by PAGCEA Group, which intimated that a total of 10,000 employees will be made redundant due to the privatisation plans.

Tengco once again denied the rumour, adding that 10,000 employees represents the entire PAGCOR workforce.

“We are not disbanding PAGCOR; and many workers will still remain in the regulatory, enforcement, monitoring, electronic gaming licensing and other units,” he continued.

“That’s why I call on our employees not to believe the lies spread by some individuals. We are here to promote your welfare, but let us do our duty.”

PAGCOR instigated the process of switching to a “purely regulatory” role in September last year, a move that formed part of the privatisation plans. At the time, Tengco said this would help “level the playing field” and allow growth for other operators.

Philippines leading the way

Speaking to iGB at ICE London, Tengco revealed that PAGCOR has big plans for the Philippines market in 2024.

“We are regulating quite a few integrated resorts in Manila,” he explained. “We did some changes and made some adjustments in the previous structure because we want to encourage not only our existing integrated resorts and our existing licensees, but we wanted to encourage new players to come.”

Tengco added that PAGCOR will continue to make the Philippines stand out as a major gambling hub.

“We are the only regulator of online gaming in South East Asia,” he continued. “That gives us an undue advantage, an advantage that can be overcome just overnight.

“That advantage itself, we should take advantage of so that we are able to attract more to invest in the Philippines when it comes to the online gaming arena.”

As part of iGB’s Road to ICE series, we delved into the ins and outs of the Philippine gaming market, chronicling the popularity of the casino sector in the country.

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