Philippines Could Pass Singapore Next Year as Asia’s 2nd Biggest Casino Destination

  • The forecasted Philippine gaming revenue for this year is close to Singapore’s 2023 results
  • PAGCOR’s CEO believes that Singapore will plateau if it doesn't allow more casinos
  • Online gambling accounted for one-fifth of gaming revenue last year in the Philippines
Silver medal
The authorities in the Philippines are confident that the country can bypass Singapore as Asia’s second most popular casino destination. [Image:]

Eyes on its rivals

The Philippines is hoping to take over as Asia’s second most popular destination for casino gambling. Singapore currently occupies the position, with Macau having an unassailable lead at the top of the rankings.

Local officials expect gross gaming revenue in the Philippines to hit a record of ₱336bn (US$6.1bn) this year, which would represent an 18% rise compared to the previous 12-month period and slightly more than Singapore’s US$6bn total in 2023.

planning to open up the Manila market this year and sell all state-run casinos by early 2026

The country’s gambling regulator is planning to open up the Manila market this year and sell all state-run casinos by early 2026. This will allow it to focus on overseeing the sector rather than dividing its attention between 41 Casino Filipino-branded facilities. It expects to make between ₱60bn (US$1.1bn) and ₱80bn (US$1.5bn) from selling these assets.

Plenty of changes on the way

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) CEO and Chairman Alejandro Tengco is confident that new casino resorts will lead to a lot more visitors in the region. While tourist arrivals from China in 2024 were just 15% of pre-pandemic levels, Tengco emphasized that high rollers from the region are still making the trip.

The regulator’s CEO explained that eight new casino projects are in the works, in addition to the new Bloomberry Resorts property that will open in May. The upcoming developments are in Manila, a former US airbase, and popular tourist hotspots like Boracay and Cebu.

the Philippines could surpass Singapore in the rankings as early as next year

Tengco is of the opinion that Singapore will plateau if it does not allow any more casinos, with Marina Bay Sands and the Genting-owned Resorts World Sentosa the only resorts in the country currently. Tengco believes that the Philippines could surpass Singapore in the rankings as early as next year.

Big areas of focus

The Philippines is still trying to get tourist numbers to return to pre-pandemic levels. About 8.26 million people visited in 2019 compared to only 5.5 million last year. The country is hoping to attract 7.7 million people from abroad in 2024. Casinos in the country typically get visitors from Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, and South Korea.

PAGCOR intends to launch its own online gambling website this year and is searching for a partner that will operate the platform.

Another string in the Philippines bow is online gambling, a pasttime not permitted in Macau or Singapore. About one-fifth of the total gross gaming revenue in 2023 came from online operations in the Philippines – a proportion that is growing rapidly.

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