An aide of President Rodrigo Duterte has hinted that the Philippines might have lifted its declared pause on new casino projects, reported multiple local media outlets
But Andrea Domingo, head of the country’s casino regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), reportedly told BusinessWorld – as recounted on Thursday – that she still needed to talk to the country’s leader (pictured) to clarify the position.
According to previous official announcements, the moratorium dated from January last year, although a number of new projects was subsequently mentioned by Pagcor. That was said to be on the basis the promoters of those schemes had permission in principle from Pagcor prior to that date. Such schemes were said to include Bloomberry Resorts Corp’s project in Quezon City.
It was widely mentioned in the Philippine media on Thursday – citing a presidential aide – that words used by President Duterte in his latest state of the nation address on Monday, in which he praised the head of the country’s gaming regulator and asked it to “push for more gambling” – might be interpreted as marking an end to the moratorium.
“That would be the logical consequence of what he said,” noted presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo when asked about it by reporters.
Pagcor, an operator of publicly-owned casinos as well as the regulator for the country’s entire casino industry, paid out a total of PHP19.20 billion (US$375.4 million) in gaming taxes and related compulsory payments from its first half gaming revenue, according to data it filed online on Thursday.
The office of the country’s sitting president is required to approve the allocation and distribution of funds earmarked by Pagcor for use toward infrastructure and social projects, according to Presidential Decree No. 1869 issued in 1983.
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