PAGCOR Off to a Slow Start as Profit Remains Low in the First Quarter

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While other areas of the world have seen significant improvements in the COVID-19 fight, the Philippines haven’t been as lucky. The country hasn’t been able to free itself from the grasp of the coronavirus, which forced the government to issue new quarantine restrictions at the end of last month. These restrictions affected casino operators in the Philippines, including its gaming regulator and casino operator the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). As a result of the ongoing issues, the first quarter of 2021 wasn’t able to provide PAGCOR with any relief and its income remains well below acceptable levels.

PAGCOR Continues to Report Losses

PAGCOR just released its financial status for the first quarter of the year and is showing signs of struggles. It reported a 49.1% drop in year-on-year income for its gaming operations. Last year, for the first quarter, the organization reported income of $339.8 million, but was forced to report $172.8 million for the first three months of this year due to ongoing COVID-19 issues.

Profit was down, as well, falling 79.1% from where it was in the first quarter of last year. That profit was $3.2 million, compared to $15.3 million for the first quarter of last year, with both 2020 and 2021 showing significant declines in performance. In 2019, PAGCOR had reported $32 million in profit. If there’s any good news, it’s that the results from 1Q21 were better than those from 4Q20, when PAGCOR’s profit was $29.7 million. For all of 2020, PAGCOR’s total profit was $32.7 million, an 83.8% drop from the $201 million a year earlier.

More Struggles Ahead for the Philippines

The Philippines implemented COVID-19 quarantine policies on March 20 of last year; however, things never seemed to improve significantly. Even as commercial activity, including casinos, was cut off, there continued to be spikes and outbreaks. In June, the country began easing restrictions in certain areas, but those casino resorts in Manila were limited to 30% of their normal capacity. As things appeared as though they were beginning to stabilize, certain regions – mostly more remote regions – were able to relax their restrictions, but Metro Manila continued its strict controls.

Earlier this year, quarantines and restrictions were eased again as the country attempted to restore its economy. These modifications didn’t last long, though, as a new outbreak in March forced the Manila area to return to what the Philippines calls the “Enhanced Community Quarantine” (ECQ). These measures had been lifted last August, but 19,000 new COVID-19 cases reported in the last weekend of March forced them to be put back in place. The casinos around Manila, including City of Dreams Manila, Okada Manila, Resorts World Manila, and Solaire Resort and Casino, are still closed as of today.

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