THE Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.’s (Pagcor) net income was nearly halved in the first quarter as its earnings from gaming operations declined because of the temporary ban on casino activities during the lockdown.

According to its financial statement posted Tuesday, the state-run gaming regulator saw its net income drop 49.8% to P777.44 million during the January-March period from P1.55 billion in the same period last year. This was also 45.3% short of its P1.42 billion net profit target for the three-month period.

In a mobile phone message, Pagcor Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Andrea D. Domingo attributed the drop to the temporary ban on gaming operations during the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.

“We can only expect recovery when we are allowed to resume operations. No operations, no revenues,” she said.

Broken down, Pagcor’s total income from gaming operations slipped by 5.7% to P17.22 billion in the first quarter from P18.27-billion recorded a year ago, and also 6% short of its P18.33-billion target.

Its revenues from other related services declined 38.5% year on year to P202.48 million from P329.20 million a year ago, while its other income also fell by 29.7% to P481.77 million from P685.12 million.

As a state firm, Pagcor is mandated to remit 50% of its gross income to the national government. In the first quarter, the government’s share in the company’s income reached P8.17 billion, bigger than its P8.66-billion share in the same period last year.

Net of gaming taxes and contributions, the gaming regulator’s total revenues reached P8.87 billion during the quarter, down 8.5% from P9.69 billion a year ago.

Meanwhile, Pagcor’s total expenses for the period reached P8.09 billion, lower than the P8.14 billion recorded a year ago but exceeding its target of P7.65 billion.

Of the quarter’s spending, operating expenses stood at P1.92 billion, about 12% smaller than the P2.18 billion recorded a year ago.

Ms. Domingo had said that Pagcor is losing P5-6 billion of income every month due to suspension of gaming activities because of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Earlier, she urged the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to allow the resumption of some “high-earning” gaming operations that would also generate more funds for the government.

Pagcor remitted a total of P26.5 billion in dividends to beef up state coffers in the government’s fight against COVID-19. — Beatrice M. Laforga