CASINO

Manila casinos increasingly reliant on junkets

TAGs: junket operators, PAGCOR, Philippines

philippine-casinos-pagcorIncreased use of junket operators gave Manila casino gaming revenue a serious shot in the arm in Q3 2016.

Figures released Monday by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) showed the country’s overall gaming market revenue rising 11.2% to P39.7b (US $807m) in the three months ending September 30.

The bulk of this revenue was generated by the land-based casino sector, which rose 12.3% to P34.1b. Of this sum, P22.6b (+20%) was generated by the casinos in Manila’s Entertainment City gaming zone (a category into which PAGCOR bundles Genting’s Resorts World Manila). PAGCOR-run casinos weren’t as fortunate, rising only 1.6% to P8b, while revenue at casinos in the Clark Freeport Zone fell 4.2% to P3.1b and the Thunderbird casino resorts rose 8.7% to P421m.

The Manila casinos continue to derive the bulk of their revenue from non-junket sources but the gap is closing. Non-junket revenue improved 12.4% to P10.5b while junket-derived revenue jumped 20.5% to P6.9b (although this was slower than Q2’s explosive growth). Electronic gaming machine (EGM) revenue was up 16.6% to P7.2b.

PAGCOR-run casinos, which are slated to be privatized as PAGCOR remodels itself as a pure regulator, are also increasingly reliant on junkets. PAGCOR’s non-junket revenue fell 13.3% to P3.2b while junket numbers improved more than one-quarter to P1.35b. EGM revenue gained 6.5% to P3.5b.

As for PAGCOR-licensed electronic gaming sites, this year’s widely publicized crackdown on eGames cafés was responsible for electronic games revenue falling to just P721m in Q3, less than half the sum generated in the same period last year. By contrast, electronic bingo revenue rose by one-quarter to P4.7b and sports betting shot up 70% to P119m.

PAGCOR recently reported its net income nudging up 0.3% to P3.2b in Q3 as gaming revenue jumped 17% to P38.1b. As one of the government’s top financial contributors, PAGCOR has been looking for ways to replace the revenue it will lose via the elimination of its gaming operations, including offering new online gambling licenses to Philippines-based operators serving punters in other markets.

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