PAGCOR Losing $118m Monthly Due to Gambling Sector Shutdown

  • Regulator is still committed to aiding coronavirus relief efforts as its funds dry up
  • Philippines has shut down all its retail and POGO gambling operations
  • PAGCOR chair's request for lucrative gambling segments to resume has been denied
illustration of coronavirus circling planet earth
PAGCOR is losing out on $118m in potential revenue each month as a result of the ongoing coronavirus shutdown of the Philippines gambling sector. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A significant loss of revenue

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) is losing $118m of potential revenue each month as a result of the ongoing shutdown of the country’s gambling facilities. 

donating as much as possible towards COVID-19 relief efforts

The national gaming regulator is still committed to donating as much as possible towards COVID-19 relief efforts across the Philippines. However, its cash reserves are now starting to run out.

To date, it has forwarded $403m to the authorities to help slow the spread of the virus. Of these funds, $204m went to the National Treasury. The Office of the President’s Socio-Civic Projects Fund received $170m.

PAGCOR also bought $1.25m of food supplies that its staff is now packing up and distributing to frontline community groups. Many Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) have also joined in the relief efforts with the provision of medical supplies, equipment, food, and money. 

Shutdown of the gambling sector

The chairperson for PAGCOR, Andrea Domingo, said there has been full compliance with the gambling sector shutdown.

closure order on all gaming facilities even if it meant an adverse effect on its earnings”

She added, “At the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country, PAGCOR immediately did its part in banning crowd gatherings through the closure order on all gaming facilities even if it meant an adverse effect on its earnings.”

Philippines President Roger Duterte previously declared the pandemic a public health emergency on March 9. This led to PAGCOR directing the closing down of all land-based casinos, sports betting locations, poker, as well as bingo and slot machines clubs on March 15. On March 18, all Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) were told to suspend their online services. 

No end in sight

Domingo has already called on the Interagency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases to give certain lucrative gambling segments, mainly POGOs and VIP gambling, the green light to resume operations. She said such a move would be possible, and that precautions would be taken to ensure there was no risk to employees or gamblers on-site. The task force has rejected this plea. 

Domingo also spoke about a possible long-term effect of the pandemic crisis on the Philippine gaming industry. However, she made it clear that the safety of the nation and its people was of utmost importance.

To date, there have been 2,311 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the Philippines. 96 people died as a result of the infection.