THE Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) chief has declared that the country’s gaming industry has fully recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic.
This as the country’s gross gaming revenues (GGR) breached P200 billion in two consecutive years.
Pagcor recorded a GGR of P285.27 billion in 2023, a 33.05 percent increase from the P214.33 billion that it earned in 2022.
“Our 2023 results exceeded even our most optimistic projections, and it proves beyond doubt that the Philippine gaming industry has fully recovered and is now poised for sustained growth in the medium to long term,” said Alejandro Tengco, Pagcor’s chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement posted on its website on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024.
Contributing the biggest share to last year’s GGR were the country’s integrated resorts, accounting for 72.7 percent or P207.48 billion. An integrated resort is a large-scale development that combines a casino with a variety of other attractions, such as hotels, convention facilities, entertainment venues, theme parks, luxury retail and fine dining.
The electronic games sector followed with 20.38 percent or P58.16 billion.
The casinos that Pagcor runs under the Casino Filipino brand contributed the least to its GRR, at 6.88 percent or P19.62 billion.
The increase in Pagcor’s 2023 GGR made it so optimistic that it set its 2024 target to P336.38 billion. For Tengco, this target is achievable, especially with the scheduled opening of new integrated resorts this year.
“We are projecting that our licensed casinos from the Entertainment City, Metro Manila, Clark, Cebu and the Fiesta Casinos in Rizal and Poro Point (in San Fernando City, Pampanga) will contribute as much as P256.63 billion to our 2024 GGR,” Tengco said.
E-casinos, e-bingo, sports betting and specialty games that make up the electronic games sector are projected to contribute P61.75 billion in 2024 and are expected to be the fastest-growing sector in the next few years, according to Tengco.
“We are really excited with the phenomenal growth of E-Games in the Philippines and this is where Pagcor will be betting,” Tengco said.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country in 2020, Pagcor recorded a GGR of P256.49 billion in 2019.
Its GGR plummeted to P98.79 billion in 2020. The GGR slightly increased to P113.09 billion in 2021 before nearly doubling to P214.33 billion in 2022.
“Last year’s accomplishment is solid proof of the local gaming industry’s adaptability and resilience, which translates to Pagcor’s enhanced ability to fulfill our nation-building mandates,” Tengco said.
A key metric used by gambling and betting companies, GGR represents the difference between the amount of money players wager minus the amount of money that they win. It is not the same as profit or earnings, as it does not account for the costs and expenses of running a gambling business.
Pagcor has plans to start the privatization of its 45 casinos by the third quarter of 2025, a move that will make the GOCC solely a regulator and not an operator.
In Cebu, Pagcor has one branch in Cebu City, and five satellite offices combined in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Talisay.