The head of the Philippine gaming regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), expects neither the security situation in the southern island of Mindanao, nor Friday’s deadly attack on Resorts World Manila in the country’s capital, to have any negative effect on the country’s casino gross gaming revenue (GGR).
Andrea Domingo, the Pagcor boss, made the comment on the sidelines of a Monday event.
“As of now, I don’t see any effect on the gaming industry, from the Mindanao situation as well as that of Resorts World [Manila],” Ms Domingo said, as quoted by the Philippine news outlet Malaya Business Insight.
The national government is currently facing an Islamist insurgency in Mindanao, the power base of the country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte. Authorities have appeared to rule out politics as a motive for the Resorts World Manila attack – that killed 37, including the perpetrator, according to local police – saying the assailant had a gambling problem.
Ms Domingo stated in her Monday comments that Resort World Manila’s average gross revenue a month was approximately PHP2 billion (US$40.4 million), with Pagcor’s share estimated at PHP400 million.
She was further quoted saying that across the country as a whole, Pagcor expected to generate gaming revenues of PHP60 billion this year, compared to the PHP55.1 billion in 2016.
“Since January, we are averaging PHP5 billion a month, so that’s around PHP25 billion as of May. I think we’ll be able to hit the target of P60 billion and above,” Ms Domingo stated.
Brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd said in a note in early April, regarding the Philippines: “Proxy betting makes up a lion’s share of VIP revenue.”
That was a reference to the use of a person or ‘proxy’ placing bets at a casino table on behalf of someone not physically present in the casino. A number of gaming lawyers have told GGRAsia that this can create issues regarding the ‘know your customer’ protocol associated with international best practice in anti-money laundering procedures.
Casino industry consultant Ben Lee of IGamiX Management and Consulting Ltd told GGRAsia via email on Friday, when asked what impact if any the Manila attack might have on consumer demand: “The only saving grace for the industry there, is that a major driver of recent [casino gross gaming] revenue growth has been in the proxy betting segment, which does not require the gamblers to be physically present in the country.”
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”China has been strengthening the control over capital flow, and the impact of that has already been reflected [on Macau’s gaming revenue trend]. There should not be any bigger impact from the new… legislation [on the mainland] … on the gaming revenue trend here”
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President of Macau casino operator Sands China