The Philippines has stuck by its gambling industry and it has all paid off. PAGCOR, the country’s gaming regulator, has contributed an estimated $115 million in cash dividends to the National Treasury in 2021, making it one of the biggest taxpayers. President Rodrigo Duterte, a hardliner against all vice, has shown surprising leniency in championing the case of gambling operations, including e-sabong contests which have been linked to the crime.
The Philippines Firmly Behind Gambling to Fend Off Financial Ills
Duterte even challenges his homolog, Chinese President Xi Jinping, who insisted PAGCOR would shut down POGOs, which were often linked to kidnappings of Chinese citizens for ransom in the Philippines.
The cumulative payment to the treasury is split between declared dividends worth $20 million and cash dividends worth $95 million, for a sum total of $115 million. Commenting on these developments, PAGCOR chairman and CEO Andrea Domingo said:
“We are now gaining momentum towards economic recovery as all businesses, including the gaming industry, are now on full operational level and revenues start pouring in once again.”PAGCOR chairman and CEO Andrea Domingo
PAGCOR remains one of the most important government-controlled agencies, which belongs to a so-called Billionaire’s Club which means that the agency has been remitting at least a billion pesos back to the government on annual basis. A total of PHP 48.94 billion has been paid out to the National Treasury since this practice began in 2016, or close to $1 billion.
PAGCOR to Help Philippines withstand COVID and War
The government has called for PAGCOR to do more in order to assist the government financially. First, PAGCOR’s contributions were used to cushion the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, hence Duterte’s reluctance to take any drastic measures against gambling in the industry.
Now, the government may need to deal with the fallout of the Russian aggression on sovereign Ukraine which is increasingly looking like a purposeful genocide on the part of the Russian army. The Philippines may suffer economically as the war is impacting crucial sectors of the economy, including food and commodities.
Domingo said that PAGCOR would remain committed to supporting the government and assisting with what it calls a “nation-building” exercise designed to bolster the country’s finances and deliver social goods back to society generated through regulated gambling operations.