The Philippines might see business recover to pre-Covid-19 levels in its licensed gambling sector – in particular its casinos – by the latter part of 2022, assuming the country’s travel rules for inbound foreign tourists were eased by then, said Andrea Domingo (pictured in a file photo), head of the country’s gaming regulator, as cited on Friday by local media outlet, the Philippine Star.
Ms Domingo, the chairperson of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor), was reported as making her remarks at a Thursday event. But she added that the pace of such recovery would depend on the global outlook, amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic
“I think we should be able to start recovering by September [this year], but I do not know how fast, because the world economy is really down,” Ms Domingo was quoted as saying.
Pagcor is a regulator for the country’s entire casino industry as well as an operator of publicly-owned casinos. The agency also collects regulatory fees from licensed gaming operations.
Ms Domingo estimated that for this year, Pagcor’s revenue would reach “PHP35 billion [US$701.6 million] to PHP38 billion”, the Philippine Star reported.
She stressed the need to reopen casinos, especially in Metro Manila, in order for gaming-sector income to recover. Metro Manila is home to Entertainment City, a zone of large-scale commercial casino resorts.
Metro Manila is to stay under “modified enhanced community quarantine” (MECQ), the second-strictest quarantine classification level, until September 7. That quarantine status in the National Capital Region had been downgraded previously by the Philippine authorities, from the strictest set of Covid-19 countermeasures associated with “enhanced community quarantine” (ECQ).
Gaming operations at a number of casino resorts in Entertainment City remained suspended as of last week, despite the relaxation in quarantine restrictions, according to notices on their respective websites.
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