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Silvia Pavlof December 13, 2022 3 min read
Philippines Finance Secretary Calls for Sale of PAGCOR Casinos
Pressure keeps mounting on Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) as yet another of the country’s politicians has called for the privatization of casinos run by the watchdog.
Finance Secretary Highlights PAGCOR Conflict of Interest
Benjamin Diokno, Department of Finance Secretary, has joined in the chorus of voices asking for the privatization of the casinos operated by the Philippines gambling regulator PAGCOR.
Diokno has pointed to the same concerns other politicians have stated before – the conflict of interest stemming from the fact that PAGCOR is both the responsible entity for regulating the gambling industry in the Philippines and also a casino operator of 47 casinos situated across the country.
According to Diokno, PAGCOR should only have one of these functions and its two responsibilities should be separated into different entities. There are of course more ways to do that but Diokno suggested that PAGCOR’s casinos should be privatized and the institution should stick to its regulatory duties.
Diokno’s comments came as part of a current discussion on the creation of a wealth fund called Maharlika Wealth Fund, which, if realized, is going to make investments into financial markets and major infrastructure programs across the whole world. According to the proposition, PAGCOR is going to contribute 10% of its gross gaming revenue coming from its casino operations to the fund.
However, there is criticism directed at the privatization proposals as PAGCOR’s casino venues account for significant contributions to the state budget. In 2019, PAGCOR brought in PHP56 billion ($1 billion) to government coffers.
Pressure Has Been Mounting on PAGCOR Ever Since the New President Took Office
PAGCOR has been the subject of privatization plans before. The Philippines’ previous president, Rodrigo Duterte, tried to go ahead with such plans back in 2016. 17 of the regulator’s 47 casinos were supposed to be sold in 2018 but it turned out that PAGCOR’s casino operations were too lucrative to be so easily given away and Duerte gave up on the idea before the sale even started.
With the 2022 election of Bongbong “BBM” Marcos as the new Philippines president, pressure on PAGCOR to split its regulatory and casino operator duties started again. Back in August Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno also urged for the privatization of PAGCOR casinos.
Following the presidential office suit, the new chief of PAGCOR Alejandro Tengco, who was appointed by Marcos at the end of August, also suggested that he will be reviewing the possibility of selling PAGCOR’s casinos.The most recent politician to join the chorus was Senator Sherwin Gatchalian who at the end of November called for the regulator to be restructured in order to deal with its currently conflicting roles of gambling regulator and casino operator.
Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.
Casino December 13, 2022
Casino December 13, 2022