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