Operators hopeful PAGCOR could open up online gambling in Philippines

With revenue definitely drying up, speculation has begun that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) may open up online gambling options for locals. Industry sources have informed Asian Gaming Brief that once the government takes a hard look at their bottom line, their may be no other option.

PAGCOR is expected to help with a range of domestic projects, including sports, charity and healthcare. But as the casino industry has been hampered by Covid-19 restrictions, and the Philippine Offshore Gambling Operators continue their exodus, PAGCOR’s revenues have fallen off a cliff, dropping by 50% overall and 80% from POGOs.

Casinos will recover eventually, but if POGOs are leaving permanently, those revenues need to be made up somehow. Now, sources expect PAGCOR to look domestically for online revenues.

“Experience taught us that whenever an obstacle arises, an opportunity usually goes along with it,” Sebastian Salat, CEO of Zitro told the ouetlet. “As the effects of COVID are being felt in land-based venues we understand PAGCOR may be considering regulated online and mobile gaming in the Philippines. Zitro has outstanding offerings in this area and we are already preparing the groundwork with local partners.”

New offerings in online cockfighting are giving some hope. “We hope that the seemingly well founded rumors that PAGCOR will approve online are correct. Our recently introduced NBA basketball game from HIGHLIGHT is perfect for mobile application,” Bromhead Holdings, Chief Operating Officer Mae Javaluyas said.

POGO licenses have been offered on the condition that operators not target Filipinos, a stance the government hasn’t backed down on officially. But congresspeople have hinted that regulations could change as the desire for online options in the country is clearly there, and PAGCOR needs to make up its revenue deficit somehow.

But that may have to wait until 2022, when President Rodrigo Duterte is set to leave office. Hon. Gus S. Tambunting suggested in 2019 that Duterte would never allow online options so long as the holds the reigns, but his successor may be more willing to change things up.