PAGCOR: Third Quarter Comeback

Posted by DG, Date posted at November 18, 2022

On the 17th of November 2022, in Quezon City, Philippines — As pandemic restrictions become ease up, the economy also sees a continuing resurgence to get back to how things have been before COVID-19 struck the globe. The most significant leap into the improvement in business activity and resurgence is the tourism field and very evident in the entertainment hubs dotting the archipelago.

PAGCOR representative prepares relief goods to areas hit by Super Typhoons. (Image: Jesus S. Casabar Photography)

This is in sync with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation’s report on a year-on-year increase in revenue for the third quarter report of 2022. The rebound has been happening slowly, surely and now in leaps and bounds. PAGCOR reports that the gross gaming revenue (GGR) for Q3 was PHP49.36 billion (US$860.7 million). This shows a remarkable 7.6% increase over Q2 and a 110.4% year-on­-year gain from 2021.

Looking into the investments made in the casino resorts or integrated resorts community — especially, the PAGCOR-managed Manila’s Entertainment City and others — brought in a whopping 90.7% of the total for PHP44.75 billion (US$780 million). These results in numbers that are 6% higher than last quarter and 105% above in the past year’s figures.

Philippine Gaming steps up with higher-than-expected revenue metrics 

The Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) for casinos in the country don’t yet reflect the ones from electronic games parlours, bingo or e-sabong. Do note that the e-sabong is currently banned. These numbers reflect only PAGCOR-owned casino revenues. These earnings grew by 21.6% to PHP4.63 billion (US$80.7 million), wherein bingo revenue from in-house venues has yet to be included. 

The table games GGR at PAGCOR casinos rose 34.2% in Q3, coming in at PHP1.32 billion (US$30.85 million). The amount from slot machines increased by 11.9%, from PHP2.12 billion to PHP2.37 billion (US$36.95 million to $41.3 million).

Aggregate revenue for PAGCOR also improved to have it at 73.5% to PHP42.27 billion (US$736.76 million). PAGCOR gaming operations have also rose 75.8% to PHP39.17 billion (US$682.73 million). Currently, PAGCOR reported a net profit of PHP104.9 million (US$1.82 million) during the period. The results led to a net income of PHP3.48 billion (US$60.65 million) between January and September.

You might also want to read: PAGCOR Net Income Leaps to USD60million: Jan-Sep, 2022

Former Finance VP Case Dismissed: Possible trigger for PAGCOR 2023 shakeup

More recent news as well touched on the charges of graft and malversation of public funds filed against Estela Pelayo Ramos — former PAGCOR VIP for Finance and Treasury — was dismissed recently by the anti-graft court of Sandiganbayan due to insufficient evidence. 

This was a case filed by the Ombudsman’s office five years ago. They cited that Pelayo favoured the private contractor BIDA Productions in a series of transactions that totalled PHP120.24 million that covered the period of October 2005 to October 2009. They alleged that Ramos illegally disbursed government funds to BIDA Productions in the following breakdown: 

  • “Maligayang Barangay Maagang Pasko 2005” – P6.5 million, check voucher issued October 2005
  • “Pinakamaligayang Barangay 2006” – P7.65 million, October 2006
  • BIDA Comics – P2.407 million, March 2008
  • BIDA Caravan – P12.25 million, June 2008
  • Grand BIDA March – P21.241 million, February 2009
  • Anti-Illegal Drugs Advocacy/Pagcor’s Social Responsibility Project – P70.19 million, March 2009

The court found that all payments made to BIDA came through various PAGCOR offices and had their approvals before reaching Ramos. Thus, the court saw that this may have been a diversionary tactic by someone looking for a scapegoat. 

PAGCOR also accuses BIDA of the malversation of public funds after it had established that BIDA tried to get PAGCOR to cover costs for the production of their film Baler in an underhanded manner. It was also established that as the case developed, there were several BIDA executives that had tied with PAGCOR and including the former BIDA CEO, Efraim Genuino. At the time of Baler’s production, Genuino was still with PAGCOR. This gave him the ability to manipulate the paper trails.

These current events, among others similar to it, have strengthened the case of the calls by some legislators for the disbandment of PAGCOR. They are coming from the angle of conflict of interest in an entity that regulates its own operations. The proposal also cites the possibility of privatizing all PAGCOR-owned businesses and having PAGCOR strictly adhere as a regulatory body in its capacity.

From my vantage point, it’s better for PAGCOR to be solidly strong as a regulatory body that oversees all operations of gambling activities. In this way, they will remain credible without question and can easily have everyone aligned on their laws and submit the correct taxes due to the government. This is despite the markedly high performance of its department so far for the third quarter of 2022. It’s a slightly painful transition but in the long run, this will spell better times ahead even more as they become efficient and transparent in their future endeavours.

How about you? Will it be better for PAGCOR to remain in a dual capacity? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. We look forward to hearing from you. Drop us any suggestions and ideas as well on what you’d like to see more of on our pages. Hope to hear from you soon! Thanks and cheers!

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