Philippine Land Based Casinos Could Soon Offer Online Gaming
With quarantine measures in place, the fact that people are not allowed to gather in one area has dramatically impacted the Philippines’ brick & mortar casino scene. Land-based casino businesses have taken a substantial financial hit.
This is why the Philippine government, together with the Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) are looking at different ways to alleviate the losses that these gambling companies face. The Philippines casino industry generates a significant amount of revenue for the government in terms of gambling taxes.
The decline in gross gaming revenues (GGR) will be felt in the budget and hence both the government and the gaming regulator are keen to set things right. One possible solution for this issue has been the proposal to allow land-based casinos to start accepting online bets. Generally, only online casino operators are permitted to take these kinds of bets.
However, with land based operators facing a massive decline in GGR, PAGCOR is conducting studies on the possibilities of enabling land-based casinos to offer online betting options too. PAGCOR confirmed that multiple land-based casino operators across the country have been sending proposals to the gaming regulator asking for permission to be allowed to online bets.
Studies are being conducted to assess whether PAGCOR should open up online gambling to the local market or only permit offshore gambling. The push to offer online gambling to locals is something that is being welcomed with great enthusiasm. It is seen as a way to circumnavigate numerous restrictions imposed on casinos and resorts across the country due to the pandemic.
COVID-19 Continues To Hurt Gambling Operators
The COVID-19 pandemic forced the Philippines to put in place quarantine measures in March 2020 that led to the closing of all casino resorts in the country. Even though some restrictions were eased after August 30th, capacity restrictions and decreased tourism have resulted in enormous losses for casino operators.
Belle Corp is one of the only casino operators that have made public its third-quarter financial results for 2020. The casino operator has witnessed a 96 percent decline in GGR recording only PHP 93 million in revenue when compared to the same period in 2019 when it recorded PHP 2.56 billion in revenue.
Foreigners are slowly starting to return to the Philippines but it is going to take some time before tourism starts booming again and land based casinos get back to normal. PAGCOR’s proposal of regulating online casino bets will definitely help ease the financial losses of land based casino operators.