THE COUNTRY’S gaming industry has returned to pre-pandemic levels and is on track to continue growing until the end of the year, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) said.
“One year into the term of President Ferdinand [R.] Marcos, Jr., our gross gaming revenues have returned to near the levels of 2019, which was the year PAGCOR achieved its all-time high for Philippine gross gaming revenue (GGR) levels,” PAGCOR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Alejandro H. Tengco said in a statement on Sunday.
“Not bad considering that many of our traditional high rollers and junkets have not fully returned, but our domestic players and the influx of new tourists have filled the void,” he added.
PAGCOR did not provide data on the latest industry GGR. Earlier data from the agency showed that total industry GGR rose by 49% year on year to P136.37 billion as of end-June.
Mr. Tengco said he expects GGR levels to surpass the 2019 figure. PAGCOR earlier said it expects the industry to generate P272.74 billion in revenues by the end of the year.
In 2019, the total gaming industry GGR stood at P248.468 billion.
He said “increased demand for leisure, travel and entertainment” will support the growth of the gaming industry in the coming years. The lifting of pandemic-related restrictions has also boosted demand for gaming activities, he added.
The development of more resorts in Clark, Pampanga will also help drive growth in the industry, Mr. Tengco said.
“Clark is projected to become a major gaming and tourism hub before the end of this decade. If you go around Clark, you can see its immense potential,” he said.
“You can see the infrastructure in place, you can see the surrounding tourist destinations, and you can see the new buildings and new commercial districts being developed in all directions,” he added.
Meanwhile, PAGCOR is also seeking to ramp up the industry’s modernization to help boost revenues.
“We expect the delivery of 3,000 brand new slot machines by January next year. We have an agreement in place with a supplier for a revenue-sharing scheme for these new machines, which we expect to generate at least P18 billion in revenues in the next five years,” he said.
“We are also modernizing our table games by replacing our old ones with new and more sophisticated gaming tables to attract more players and further increase,” he added. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson