A plan to sell off some state-owned casinos – under the control of the country’s gaming regulator-cum-operator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) – should be completed in “a few months”, said Carlos Dominguez, the Philippines’ Finance Secretary, as quoted by the Manila Bulletin newspaper.
“I think the plan will be completed within the next few months,” he stated.
“Basically, the goal is to separate the operating function of Pagcor from its regulatory function,” Mr Dominguez reportedly said.
The Philippine Department of Finance announced in August 2016 a plan to strip Pagcor of the right to operate casinos.
In September last year, Secretary Dominguez stated the government expected to sell 17 casinos operated by Pagcor in a first round of disposals which he indicated would begin in 2018.
In his most recent remarks, reported on Monday, he said the first round would involve disposal this year of 17 out of 46 venues, but that the process would not be simple as it involved “a lot of complicated contracts”.
Pagcor directly operates a suite of state-run casinos and oversees a number of private-sector ones. Its own brand of casinos is called “Casino Filipino”. According to the latter’s website, the brand currently operates venues in eight locations across the country, and has a further 34 so-called “satellite” sites across the Philippines. In September last year, the same website listed 13 locations nationally, and 35 satellite properties.
Monday’s news report did not mention how much money might be raised by the sell-off process.
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”We expect Goa to quickly become a US$1 billion market as it transitions to land-based casinos (from US$150 million today), which is still just a fraction of India’s total GGR potential of US$10 billion to US$17 billion”
Analyst at Union Gaming Securities Asia