- Philippines to privatize former PAGCOR-run casinos
- Privatization process expected to be in full swing by early 2018
The Philippines’ gambling sector is to face some significant changes after the country’s Department of Finance yesterday announced that 17 casinos will be privatized from the start of 2018. They will no longer be under government operation.
At present, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) runs these 17 establishments. However, following a string of decisions made by the country’s Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, they – including the Fort Ilocandia in Laoag – will be sold to multiple operators.
Removing conflicts of interest
This will be the first step in a privatization process that has reportedly been laid out by Dominguez. Such a project is set to do away with the country’s conflict of interest when it comes to gambling, since PAGCOR is both the owner and regulator of many casinos.
To sell the casinos, they must first be appropriately evaluated. To do this, their capacity, gaming table numbers, and customers per day must be ascertained. However, it is alleged that this part of the process is making slow progress; the DOF does not hold a suitable amount of information on any of these factors, meaning that they are being forced to depend on estimation and projection.
Only when this has been determined will privatization begin. That being said, Dominguez reportedly hopes completion of the task will come by the end of the year, at which point the casino auction can begin in the early months of 2018.
Fair competition through privatization
The Philippines government aims to sell PAGCOR-operated casinos based on their geographic location. It is also worth pointing out that the sale of such establishments will not affect Filipino employees working in the establishments in any way.
Also, privatization methods will differ for every casino location due to the fact that they were operated in unique ways previously. Each facility’s special features will also mean different sale processes.
And with so much change in the air, the country and its gambling industry are rightly concerned about its impact on revenue. However, Dominguez has reportedly attempted to ease these worries, saying that the government’s revenue streams will not be harmed by the privatization processes.
The most positive outcome to the issue of fair competition in the industry, according to Dominguez, will be to privatize the casino sector. This, he thinks, will also stop casinos losing customers.
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