The Philippines Commission of Audit has criticized the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) for investing in non-core assets and a failed slot machine venture.
PAGCOR paid Php262.6 million to buy 66 condominium units from AMVEL Land Development Corp. In 2013, out of 66 units 54 remain unsold, leaving the the gaming agency with Php218.1 million unrealized profit.
The units were meant to be sold as “decent and affordable housing facilities” to PAGCOR officials assigned to the Casino Filipino office in Parañaque City. However, five years after the acquisition, PAGCOR struggles to sell these units, leaving the company with “idle funds that could have been used for activities more beneficial in the attainment of PAGCOR’s objectives/goals.”
COA also found out that PAGCOR incurred unnecessary expenses that the developer should have paid, specifically Php2.5 million in transfer tax and registration fees for the 66 unit.
“Apparently, there was inadequate planning prior to the purchase of the units,” the report added.
The gaming agency said that “a few [staff] qualify in terms of capacity to pay the amortizations” but efforts to sell the condominiums were being pursued. PAGCOR has also taken legal steps to address the issues pertaining to the transfer tax and registration fees.
Another issue is PAGCOR’s Plaza Del Norte Slot Machine Arcade in Laoag City in the province of Ilocos Norte, which failed to meet its projected winnings amounting to Php2.88 million per month or Php34.56 million per year since it opened on January 2, 2013.
According to the COA report, the arcade has actually “incurred continuous losses since it started operations.” The report recommended the closure of the slots arcade, unless PAGCOR can do something to bring it back to profitability. The report also cited that PAGCOR has taken steps to transfer the whole slot operation from its current location in a convention center to the Plaza Del Norte Hotel in an effort to “improve its accessibility to clients.”
Meanwhile, the City of Dreams Manila Facebook page may have given away the official opening date of the new integrated resort and casino in PAGCOR’s Entertainment City. An online ad promoting the Concert of Dreams ticket giveaway indicates a date of February 2, 2015. The grand opening of the resort is highlighted by the Concert of Dreams and the Facebook post said “exciting performances and special surprises” are in store for promo participants as “we unveil Entertainment City’s newest integrated resort and casino.”