State-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) says it has recorded total income of PHP36.21 billion (US$663.7 million) in the first half of 2023, a 35.6-percent increase from the prior-year period. Such revenue was just PHP2.59 billion – or 6.7 percent – short of the first-half 2019 tally, before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, said the regulator in a Wednesday statement.
The announcement quoted Pagcor’s chairman and chief executive, Alejandro Tengco (pictured), as saying that given the current revenue trends, it was “highly possible” for the agency to “reach or even surpass its [annual] pre-pandemic income by the end of 2023”.
Mr Tengco said Pagcor was projecting that the Philippine casino sector could generate at least PHP272.74 billion in annual gross gaming revenue (GGR) for full-2023. That included GGR from private-sector casinos and Pagcor-operated venues.
“We have already hit approximately PHP136.37 billion GGR in the first semester,” up 48.7 percent from a year earlier, stated the Pagcor boss. “With the favourable business environment that we have right now, we are hopeful that we can reach or even surpass our revenue targets and contribute more to nation-building.”
He added: “As economic activities reach pre-pandemic levels, we are optimistic that we can sustain the gaming industry’s growth momentum as we fortify our regulatory policies to attract more investors in the Philippines.”
Pagcor’s revenues in the six months to June 30 showed that income from gaming operations and regulatory fees from its licensees – which amounted to PHP34.12 billion – “remained the biggest contributor” to the agency’s revenue, according to the release. Such income was 38.0-percent higher compared to the year ago period.
In April, the agency reported aggregate income of PHP17.71 billion for the first three months of 2023, meaning second-quarter revenue was up 4.5 percent sequentially. Revenue from gaming operations in the first quarter was PHP16.88 billion, rising by 2.1 percent quarter-on-quarter for the subsequent three months.
“With the fine-tuning of our regulatory policies, we believe that the Philippines will become a more attractive gaming and entertainment hub both for investors and guests,” Mr Tengco stated.
Pagcor’s contribution to nation-building efforts rose by 48.5 percent year-on-year, to PHP22.62 billion in the first half of 2023. The agency is required by law to pass at least 50 percent of its gross earnings to the national government.
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