The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), the casino regulator in that country, says it is “losing” up to US$118 million per month due to the “enhanced community quarantine” imposed by the country’s government to tackle the spread of the Covid-19 disease.
“On the average, Pagcor is losing PHP5 billion [US$98.3 million] to PHP6 billion a month as the enhanced community quarantine is being imposed in Metro Manila and other major cities nationwide,” the regulator said in a Monday press release.
According to Pagcor’s charter, the body – an operator-cum-regulator – has a duty to give the national government a minimum of 50 percent of gross earnings, and 60 percent if such earnings are less than PHP150 million.
Monday’s Pagcor statement added: “Despite these losses, the country’s gaming regulator and operator has remitted a total of PHP20.5 billion to the national government to help cushion the impact of Covid-19 in the country.”
The announcement noted that on March 9, the nation’s leader President Rodrigo Duterte had formally declared a state of public health emergency in the Philippines, and on March 16, the main island Luzon had been placed under “enhanced community quarantine” to quell the rise of Covid-19 cases in the country.
Pagcor said that “in compliance with this directive,” it had on March 15 ordered the temporary closure of all “land-based casinos, eGames, bingo, poker, slot machine clubs and sports betting facilities”; and on March 18 extended the suspension order to Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) and their service providers.
Andrea Domingo, Pagcor’s chairman and chief executive, was cited in the document as saying: “At the outbreak of Covid-19 in the country, Pagcor immediately did its part in banning crowd gatherings through the closure order on all gaming facilities even if it meant an adverse effect on its earnings.”
On March 22 the BusinessWorld news outlet in the Philippines had cited Ms Domingo as 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.
As of Tuesday, health authorities in the Philippines had recorded a total of 2,084 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 88 fatalities, and 49 people having recovered, reported that day the Philippine News Agency, an official outlet.
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