The head of the Philippines’ casino regulator says the country’s gaming industry is still posting revenue growth.
“The revenues are still up,” said Cristino Naguiat (pictured), chairman of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp, also known as Pagcor, as quoted by local newspaper The Philippine Star.
His comments came after several major casino operators in the Philippines reported lacklustre performances during the second quarter of 2015.
Mr Naguiat added: “This has nothing to do with gaming behaviour.”
Instead, Pagcor’s chairman linked the poor results to costs incurred by casino operators as they expand their businesses, The Philippine Star reported.
In a July interview, Mr Naguiat had said there was a “good chance” that casino gross gaming revenue in the Philippines could reach US$3 billion in 2015, up by 20 percent from the previous year.
Some analysts covering the regional gaming sector however say the Philippines might be starting to feel the impact of the ongoing anti-corruption crackdown in mainland China by the government there. The campaign is perceived to have had a knock-on effect in particular on the mainland Chinese-driven VIP and premium mass gambling markets. A decline in gambling volumes was seen initially in Macau but has now been noted in some regional markets, according to those analysts.
China News Service earlier this month reported that China’s Ministry of Public Security had started an operation called “Chain Break”, said to be aimed at disrupting foreign casinos’ access to money flows from China and foreign casinos’ links to individuals that scout for gamblers from China.
Philippine gaming operator Travellers International Hotel Group Inc last week announced a 46.4-percent decline year-on-year in net profit for the three months to June 30, amid a decrease in gaming volumes. The firm developed and operates the Resorts World Manila casino and hotel complex next to Manila International Airport.
Also last week, Bloomberry Resorts Corp, developer and operator of Solaire Resort and Casino in Manila’s Entertainment City, reported a net loss for the second quarter of 2015. But the firm recorded an increase in gross gaming revenue measured in year-on-year terms.
Earlier this month, Melco Crown (Philippines) Resorts Corp, operator of City of Dreams Manila, also at Entertainment City, had reported its consolidated comprehensive loss for the three months ended June 30 had widened by 27 percent from the prior-year period. Following the announcement, the City of Dreams Manila casino resort – opened in December last year – reportedly “suspended” 100 workers as a cost-cutting measure.
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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