The new leader of the Philippines has selected a member of his election campaign team to serve as the new head of the country’s gambling regulatory body.
On Tuesday, president-elect Rodrigo Duterte announced that he was appointing Andrea Domingo (pictured) as head of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). Domingo will replace Cristino Naguiat Jr., who was appointed by outgoing president Benigno Aquino.
Domingo helped organize volunteer groups for Duterte’s election campaign and she’s no political novice, having previously served as head of the Bureau of Immigration, as a congresswoman from Pampanga in the mid-1990s and as CEO of the Philippine Reclamation Authority (a branch of the Public Works Department) during the administration of former president Gloria Arroyo.
Domingo will take over at a critical juncture of the Philippines gaming industry, with two more integrated resorts set to open in the Entertainment City Manila zone as well as Bloomberry Resorts’ controversial second Manila casino outside Entertainment City.
PAGCOR is also wrestling with the fallout from the well-publicized hacking of Bangladeshi central bank accounts, from which $81m was funneled through the Philippine casino industry. The scandal has prompted the government to beef up its anti-money laundering laws, meaning PAGCOR will be keeping a closer eye on its casino licensees.
PAGCOR, which also operates its own gaming operations in addition to regulating private operators, reported just under $1b in revenue in 2015, and is on target to exceed that mark in 2016. PAGCOR is one of the top financial contributors to government coffers.
In a 2003 interview with the Philippine Star, Domingo said her role as Immigration chief required her to be “doubly tough” because she was doing “a man’s job.” Domingo described herself as “a very tough boss” but claimed that she prefers to “express my anger behind closed doors.”