Pagcor ‘seriously consider’ selling casinos

At a glance

  • The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) is seriously considering the privatization of government-owned casinos in the country.

  • Alejandro Tengco, Pagcor chair and CEO says they plan to focus solely on regulatory function once the privatization is completed.

  • Pagcor currently has 41 operated casinos with an estimated valuation of P80 billion.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) said it is "seriously considering" the sale of its casino operations, estimated to raise P80 billion in revenues for the government, to focus solely on regulatory function.

In a statement, Alejandro Tengco, Pagcor chairman and chief executive officer, said the state-owned gaming firm is planning to privatize its self-operated casinos nationwide.

Tengco said the current Pagcor board has been open to talks about privatization since its assumed office in August last year.

Based on a Pagcor estimate, the planned sale of the government-owned casinos would raise P80 billion.

Earlier, the Department of Finance (DOF) said the sale of Pagcor’s gaming assets was among the options being considered by the Marcos administration to raise additional revenues.

“Pagcor’s new leadership will have to make know their plans moving forward. They should resolve the seemingly conflicting roles as an operator and regulator,” Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno told reporters.

“The new leadership should consider the worthiness of their move appropriate to their role,” he added.

This is not the first time that the DOF considered to put Pagcor’s gaming assets on the auction block.

Former Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III had attempted to privatize 41 Casino Filipino centers owned by Pagcor in 2018. This plan, however, did not proceed.

Pagcor, the government’s third largest revenue generating agency, had supported the planned sale, but also warned that the government would lose P24 billion annually after the disposal of its commercial activities.

In 2018, the Governance Commission recommended the rationalization of the Pagcor by separating the commercial and regulatory functions of the state-owed firm.

According to GCG, Pagcor currently has “conflicting” commercial and regulator functions.

Tengco assured that the welfare of employees who will be affected by the privatization will be taken into consideration.