The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) has announced a number of donations and initiatives either by the regulator or its licensed private-sector casino operators, while also calling for a reinstatement of three “high-earning” gaming operations – including VIP play – to raise more funds for the government’s efforts against the Covid-19 pandemic.
All bricks and mortar gaming in the Philippines had been suspended last week the country’s gaming regulator had confirmed in an emailed statement to GGRAsia on March 17. The measure in force until April 14 was part of efforts to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus, and represented an expansion of a ban already in effect from a few days earlier for casinos in Metro Manila.
On March 18 the regulator said it had also ordered the temporary suspension of business by Pagcor-licensed Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) and related service providers on the country’s main island Luzon; also with effect until April 14.
Subsequent to the announcements, Pagcor has issued a number of statements about its contribution to the community.
On Sunday Pagcor said more than PHP200-million (US$3.92-million) worth of essential items were being donated by Manila’s Entertainment City casino-resort licensees “to boost the government’s efforts” in fighting locally the coronavirus threat.
The regulator said that same day that POGOs had donated PHP150-million-worth of “hospital supplies”, and “food packs” for distribution to various hospitals and cities in Metro Manila.
Also that day, Andrea Domingo, chairman and chief executive of Pagcor, called for the country’s Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases to allow the resumption of three “high-earning” gaming operations to raise more funds for the government’s efforts against Covid-19, according to a report from the BusinessWorld news outlet.
She identified these as casino junkets; what were termed “e-junkets” – apparently a reference to proxy gambling by telephone in bricks and mortar casinos; and POGOs, with a suggestion the latter should be able to “work from home,” according to the media outlet.
If those three gaming segments were allowed to restart operations, Pagcor could regain around 50 percent to 60 percent of its revenues which would then be remitted back to government and added to the funding pool to counter Covid-19, the news outlet cited Ms Domingo as saying.
On Monday Pagcor said it had that day released PHP12 billion in “cash dividends” to the nation’s treasury “to help cushion the economic impact” within the Philippines of the novel coronavirus.
On Tuesday, Pagcor said it had also released that day an additional PHP6 billion to the Socio-Civic Projects Fund of the Office of the President, on top of the PHP2.5 billion it had already remitted earlier this month.
The Philippine News Agency, an official media outlet, said that as of 4pm on Tuesday, 90 more people had been reported as infected with Covid-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 552. The country had recorded 35 deaths and 20 instances of recovery among that tally.
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