For all the promises of riches and opportunity the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation was proudly claiming in recent years, the reality of a more competitive industry in the Philippines is slowly setting in.
Less than a year after the government agency closed down its agency-run casino at the Heritage Hotel Manila, Pagcor is serving another casino up to the guillotine after announcing that it won’t be renewing the casino license for the Airport Casino Filipino, which is set to expire in July. The decision to shutter the age-old casino wasn’t a hard one to reach in light of the current state of the establishment and how it has been bleeding money because of the money it has to remit to state coffers on a monthly basis.
According to Pagcor CEO Cristino Naguiat Jr., the Airport Casino Filipino’s average monthly take is around Php180 million. Before anybody even gets a chance to sneeze, half of that amount Php 90 million – is immediately withheld by the Bureau of Treasury as part of the government’s share in the gaming income. From there, another Php23 million is taken out to pay for the rent of the property with the rest of the money being divvied up between salary for around 800 employees, as well as electricity, food and drinks for players, and various miscellaneous fees.
If there’s a silver lining to the shutting down of Airport Casino Filipino, it’s that none of its employees will be laid off as a result of its closure. Instead Naguiat promised that the 800 jobs that will be lost as a result of the casino’s closure will instead be transferred to its other state-owned gambling joints, specifically at the Pavilion Hotel and the Hyatt Hotel Manila.
“Every month, we process about 50 applications for retirement or early retirement, so there are plenty of job opportunities within Pagcor for about 800 affected employees of Airport Casino Filipino,” the Pagcor chairman said.
With its casino at Heritage Hotel already gone and the closure of the Airport Casino Filipino already on schedule, Pagcor’s casino total in the Philippines would fall to 11 agency-run Casino Filipino facilities and four licensed casinos. Still a decent number of establishments to generate, and hopefully meet its revenue target for the year, even if the road towards that goal has become a little more difficult.