PAGCOR Chair Keen on Expanding Online Gaming To Boost To Nation-Building
- PAGCOR Chair Alejandro Tengco throws support behind online gaming
- Tengco wants to cultivate the potential of POGOs despite controversies surrounding the sector
- Philippine GGR could end up surpassing Singapore by the end of 2023
Expanding the Philippine gaming industry will not only bring the country to the forefront of Asian gaming but also enable the sector to increase its contribution to nation-building. That’s according to Alejandro H. Tengco, the new chair of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), who recently outlined his plans for the industry.
Recognizing the Philippines’ potential to become one of the leading gaming markets in Asia, Tengco said they want to be a “partner” for operators as they strive to take Philippine gaming to greater heights. The long-term goal is to expand gaming and establish a better regulatory framework for the industry.
Tengco Downplays China Blacklist, Wants to Expand POGOs
Among Tengco’s priorities as PAGCOR chair is to further develop the offshore gaming industry despite calls for it to be shut down. He wants to boost revenue generated from Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) by expanding their activities. As part of this effort, the gaming authority is considering setting up a licensing process for a new category of business process outsourcing that would allow external service providers to cater to offshore real money gaming firms licensed elsewhere.
Tengco also shrugged off reports that the Philippines has been blacklisted by China due to the operations of POGOs, saying there’s no evidence to prove it. Chinese nationals have been allowed to travel to the country since December 2022 when the Beijing government lifted its outbound travel restrictions.
The Philippines has seen a massive decline in Chinese tourist arrivals since the pandemic and the numbers have remained low even with the lifting of travel restrictions. However, the country is expecting more Chinese tourists to come in by Dec 2023.
Apart from expanding the POGO industry, Tengco also wants to help Philippine Inland Gaming Operators (PIGOs) achieve more growth. PAGCOR launched the PIGO licensing scheme in late 2020, making the Philippines the first in Asia to regulate domestic online gambling.
Tengco also wants to take advantage of the growing number of Korean junkets in the country, as the junket industry in Macau continues to shrink.
PH Could Overtake Singapore in GGR
Gross gaming revenue (GGR) in the Philippines is on the road to full recovery, with GGR for 2022 reaching PHP214.3 billion ($3.95 billion), equivalent to 84% of the record PHP256.5 billion generated in 2019 prior to the pandemic.
For 2023, GGR is projected to reach PHP244.8 billion but the actual figure could be higher than that, which would put the Philippines second to Macau in terms of gaming revenue in Asia, surpassing Singapore.