Accumulated casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) for the full year of 2015 in the Philippines grew by 17 percent compared to 2014, the chairman of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), Cristino Naguiat (pictured), told the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in an interview.
GGR for the country’s casino operations – including venues run by Pagcor and those run by private sector operators – reached PHP130 billion (US$2.75 billion) last year, said Mr Naguiat.
The head of the Philippines’ casino regulator said Pagcor made PHP48.5 billion in gaming revenue in 2015 while the licensees “made almost PHP82 billion”.
“Pagcor, itself, showed a 15.75-percent increase in gaming revenue, while those of the licensees are up 18 percent [year-on-year],” he was quoted saying.
In 2014, Pagcor reported GGR for the country’s overall industry of PHP111 billion.
“We showed a big improvement last year despite the business environment,” Mr Naguiat added, pointing to the decline in gaming revenue in the Macau market during the same period, according to the report.
Macau’s casino GGR fell 34.3 percent year-on-year in 2015. The city’s accumulated GGR for the 12 months of the year 2015 stood at MOP230.84 billion (US$28.9 billion), compared to MOP351.5 billion in 2014.
Mr Naguiat said in the interview that the PHP130-billion figure included revenues from junket operations. “In 2014, our total junket business was only PHP2 billion, but we hit PHP5 billion last year,” he stated.
Some investment analysts covering the regional gaming sector had said that the Philippines started to feel in the second half of 2015 the impact of an ongoing anti-corruption crackdown in mainland China. 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 only in Macau but it had since reached other regional markets, according to those analysts.
Mr Naguiat told the Inquirer newspaper that the Philippines gaming industry seemed to have adjusted its business model to adapt to the changing market environment.
The Pagcor chairman also expressed optimism that the regional gaming industry would eventually recover from the current downturn. “The market is not really weak,” Mr Naguiat said. “What’s important for us in the Philippines is that we met all our 2015 targets,” he added.
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