Pagcor’s gamble to set a high bar on its targets by the end of the year appears to be on track, according to chairman and CEO Cristino Naguiat Jr.
In a news briefing with reporters on Monday, the Pagcor chief said that the government-owned agency’s Php42 billion target is well within reach. “I’m certain that the first five months of the year has been higher compared to the same period last year,” he said.
Naguiat likewise pointed out that the biggest contributor to reaching that goal would be Solaire Manila, the first integrated resort and casino to open in Entertainment City. Incidentally, there’s also growing confidence from the agency that the entire industry’s gaming revenues can hit Php105 billion ($2.5 billion), an equally significant increase from the Php84 billion ($2 billion) it earned in 2012 that will also be driven by Solaire Manila.
Despite a relatively slow start – in the first two and a half months of its operation, Solaire Manila has generated gaming revenues of P1.3 billion – the integrated resort and casino is expected to pick up its business as soon as it gets its legs from underneath them.
“Let’s say if they average Php1.5 billion a month, in 10 months that’s P15 billion. So that’s already $500 million,” Naguiat added. “Solaire will bring the increase in revenues. Even as Resorts World (Manila) also reported an increase in income, bulk of the increase will come from Solaire.”
Then there are the effects Solaire Manila has had on raising the bar for Entertainment City, something the other three casino licensees have taken serious notice of pushing at least one of them to strive to improve on its current casino plans. “For instance, after Solaire’s opening, Melco Crown [Philippines] Resorts Corp. went back to the drawing boards to revise their designs to be at par with or even be better than Solaire’s,” Naguiat said.
Naguiat also believes that the high-end market will continue to drive the industry’s growth despite some recent bumps in the road that are well outside of the industry’s influence. Business may have hit some rough patches along the way, but recent events that led to these minor turbulences haven’t dampened the optimism the agency has in reaching its targets for the year.
In addition to its casino earnings, Pagcor’s overall industry goal of hitting Php105 billion in revenues for the year will be aided significantly by growth expectations from its other gaming activities, including commercial bingo, Internet gaming, and poker operations, among other sources of revenue.