Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to announce any policy change on a declared January 2018 moratorium on new casinos in the country. So said on Monday president spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo, as quoted by local newspaper Business World.
“Until such time as he makes a formal statement on the matter, I think whatever his former position was, subsists,” Mr Panelo was quoted as saying during a press briefing.
He was commenting on an interview given last month to Bloomberg news agency by Andrea Domingo, the head of the nation’s gaming regulator. At the time, Ms Domingo argued that the casino moratorium should be partially lifted so that the Philippines could benefit from a “sunrise” industry.
Ms Domingo added at the time she hoped to get a meeting with President Duterte (pictured in a file photo) to discuss the matter.
“What I know is [Ms Domingo] wants a meeting,” Mr Panelo told reporters on Monday. “But I have not heard of any such meeting. I have no info.”
Business World stated it tried to contact Pagcor’s management on the matter but received no response.
Even after news of the moratorium emerged some weeks after its imposition last year, a number of new-to-market schemes were announced. Pagcor eventually clarified that the moratorium related to any schemes not already approved by the time the ban took effect.
It is unclear for how long the moratorium is to be in place.
In March 2017, Pagcor had already said it would impose a five-year moratorium on issuing further casino licences for the capital Manila, amid industry concerns of oversupply. Despite the moratorium on more Manila licences, Pagcor said at the time that it would be welcoming casino development applications – with more modest capital expenditure – for other parts of the country.
The Philippine casino industry reported gross gaming revenue of PHP187.54 billion (US$3.58 billion) in full calendar year 2018, up by 22.9 percent from the prior-year period, according to data released this week by Pagcor.
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