Philippines gambling regulator PAGCOR made a bold step toward transitioning to legal online gaming after it greenlighted a measure that allows casino operators to set up online casinos, granting online permits to three entities.
The move comes amid a steep decline in gambling revenue, with the figure plunging nearly 50% in the first quarter of 2021.
A Step Toward Legal Online Gaming
Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), the country’s gambling regulator, surprised the world of iGaming with the decision to grant online licenses to three casino operators.
PAGCOR has for the first time issued online gaming permits to three casino operators.
The regulator has resorted to the move as the pandemic was once again reignited in the region, halting travel and cutting off the state-controlled Entertainment City’s revenue.
As a result, PAGCOR decided to allow three integrated resort operators, Resorts World Manila, Okada Manila, and Solaire Resort & Casino, to launch casino services online.
The extraordinary measure is largely seen as giving in to the trend of online gambling legalisation which the country’s government has been delaying for a long time, particularly in the Philippines offshore gaming sector, which allows operators based in the country to offer services to players abroad.
The move marks a step toward long overdue legalization of iGaming sector in the Philippines.
PAGCOR chair and CEO Andrea Domingo commented on the decision by saying that the three operators have now “started their online table games and slot machines.”
With this move, PAGCOR is hoping to cushion the blow dealt to the gaming industry in the Philippines as the sector has suffered a 49.1% revenue decline in the first quarter of 2021, with profits tumbling 79.1%.
Allowing Operators to Generate Revenue
iGaming is taking off the ground under the Philippine Inland Gaming Operator (PIGO) permits issued to all three above mentioned resorts.
The PIGO licenses are following the US model where each and every online casino has to be connected to a brick-and-mortar property, which can be either the same entity or a third party.
Thanks to the newly issued permits, casinos will be able to continue operation and generate revenue that has been decimated due to quarantine measures in Manila and other major cities across the Philippines.