Philippines’ New President To Make Gaming Industry Concerns One Of His Priorities
- Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is set to be the new leader of the Philippines
- Marcos Jr. will have to look into key issues affecting the country’s gaming sector
- He will succeed Rodrigo Duterte who recently suspended E-sabong
The Philippines has just elected its 17th President, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
While the canvassing of votes is still ongoing, partial and unofficial results show Marcos is headed for a landslide victory.
It’s still too early to say what the Philippine gaming industry would look like under his rule but what is certain is that the 64-year-old former senator will have to look at several issues concerning a huge sector that has been one of the country’s major sources of revenue.
Both land-based and online gambling are allowed in the Philippines under the supervision of the country’s regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). The agency was established in 1977 under the administration of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. who was removed from power in 1986. The country’s incoming president is his son.
One of the relevant gaming industry subjects that Marcos Jr. will have to look into is the recent suspension of “E-sabong“, an online wagering on live cockfighting events. It was initially approved in 2021 to shore up revenue for the country in the aftermath of the pandemic.
However, outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte was forced to suspend its operations as investigations continue into alleged abductions involving E-sabong operators and financiers. Will Marcos Jr. continue the suspension, or will online cockfighting resume under his leadership?
Marcos Jr. will also want to pay close attention to the new Boracay resort and whether it will flourish as a gaming hub. In 2021, Duterte gave the green light for casino development in the area after lifting a moratorium on new casinos back in 2018. Boracay is among the country’s top tourist destinations, attracting thousands of visitors from all over the world each year.
With online gaming’s increasing popularity worldwide, the new President will also look into the newly-established Philippine Inland Gaming Operator (PIGO) industry which also falls under PAGCOR’s remit.
At the moment, three integrated resorts based in Manila are already operating online casinos under the PIGO scheme, namely, Solaire Resort & Casino, Okada Manila and Resorts World Manila.
Under the scheme, regular customers at the casino resorts’ land-based venues who have active player accounts are allowed to play at their online gaming sites. The operators can run interactive slot machines as well as live dealer table games.