PAGCOR revenues up 7.6% in 2017

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By Elijah J. C. Tubayan,

THE Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) said revenues rose 7.6% in 2017, with the opening of new casino sites and the entry of offshore gaming operators.

Based on its statement of comprehensive income posted on its Web site, PAGCOR’s full-year income from gaming operations stood at P57.34 billion, higher than the P53.3 billion recorded in 2016. This was also 25% higher than its P45.76-billion full-year target.

Jose S. Tria, Jr., PAGCOR special assistant to the chairman, said this was due to the new income-sharing scheme with lessors in favor of the casino operator, as well as the entry of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO).

“The opening of some new casino sites and the conversion of some of our agreements to a 65%-35% sharing with our private proponents placed PAGCOR in a better standing as to our revenues,” Mr. Tria said in a mobile phone message yesterday.

Mr. Tria added the POGO program contributed “almost P4 billion in revenues” last year.

PAGCOR data show registered offshore, or online gaming operators stood at 50 as of end-November last year. The POGO program was institutionalized in September 2016.

Companies seeking an offshore gaming license must pay $50,000 in application and processing fees for e-casinos and $40,000 for sports betting. They must pay another $200,000 for an e-casino license and $150,000 for a sports betting license upon receiving approval from PAGCOR.

On top of that, online gaming operators with live-studio setups should pay gaming taxes of $10,000 a month, 2% of gross gaming revenue for random-number games, and $40,000 a month for sports betting.

However, Mr. Tria noted 2017’s gross revenue growth of 7.5% was slower than 2016’s 22.88% year-on-year growth from 2015. He attributed the slower revenue growth to the implementation of a nationwide smoking ban, which also covered casinos. 

Aside from its casinos, PAGCOR earns income from shares and license fees from licensed casinos and offshore gaming operations, as well as rental, entertainment, and interest income.

As mandated, the casino operator remitted half of its income, or P27.17 billion to the Bureau of the Treasury.

It also handed over some P60 million to the Dangerous Drugs Board per Republic Act No. 9165 or the “Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002,” to fund adequate drug rehabilitation centers in the country and its maintenance and operations.

This year, PAGCOR set a P61.66-billion revenue target which is 34.72% higher than the target in 2017, and 7.53% higher than the actual recorded revenue last year.