Philippines casinos show impressive growth with significant rise in income

  • PAGCOR-run casinos in the Philippines make billions in September
  • Debate continues in country over changing role of the organisation

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) has revealed that in September, its 13 casinos across the Philippines brought in over 35% more than in the same month in 2016.

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More specifically, in September 2016, net income was P3.196 billion, but in the same month this year it totalled P4.356 billion ($84.3 million). PAGCOR says that this amount surpassed its goal of just P1.107 billion for the month by an enormous 293%.

Growth in the Philippines

From gaming operations, PAGCOR is reported to have accrued P42.379 billion ($820 million). This includes taxes and contributions, which alone came to P22.197 billion for the month of September 2017, marking a 15.7% increase from the P19.193 billion from the same month last year.

PAGCOR’s total expenses for the month came to a grand total of P17.714 billion, which represents an increase of almost 11% (up from P15.983) from September 2016.

Benefits all round

PAGCOR’s excellent financial record so far this year provides some good news for Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines too – the organization shares half of its operations with the country’s government.

The groundbreaking takings may also be related to a change of heart from Duterte that has occurred more recently. For example, when he became president in June 2016, Duterte was staunchly opposed to the expansion of gambling in the country. But more recently, he was noted as saying that providing everyone in the industry pays the “correct taxes,” they can “gamble until [they] die”.

Regardless of his attitude to the widespread practice of gambling, PAGCOR has brought checks equating to the Philippine equivalent of $390 million to Manila throughout September. In fact, its casinos generate more cash than any other establishment, save for the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

It is also worth noting that in the first six months of this year, the four integrated casino resorts in the Philippines brought in around $550 million. This is up over 25% from previous records.

Changing structure

Earlier this year it was reported that changes could be coming for PAGCOR that could see the organisation change from being an operator to a regulatory body, which would also entail a change of duties.

Given those changes there is currently debate in the country around how exactly the government will continue to take 50% of the casinos’ revenue share while selling off the land-based establishments. However, as this is currently being assessed there is little movement of just where such record revenues could end up in the future.

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