Pagcor to lower rates for operators from 1 April

Alejandro Tengco, chairman and CEO of Pagcor announced the move today (19 March), hoping to attract operators to the Philippines. The rates will be lowered by an average of 5%.

“The remittance rates should then average around 35% of GGR, which is quite significant because when we assumed office in August 2022, the prevailing remittance rate was over 50%,” explained Tengco. “We have gradually lowered them so that by April 1, our rates will be at par with global industry standards.”

He added that this should spur illegal operators to apply for licences under Pagcor.

Speaking more generally about the Filipino gaming market, Tengco said that growth will hinge on three factors. “The entry and operation of more integrated casinos, the strong performance of the electronic games sector, and the benefits from the planned privatisation of Pagcor casinos.”

Pagcor’s casinos will be privatised in late 2025, to give the regulator time to address those affected by the decision.

Pagcor’s privatisation plans

The announcement last September that Pagcor would transition to a “purely regulatory” body was the green light for the move. This has been in the works for some time. Just under one year ago, Pagcor said it was “seriously considering” privatising its casino business.

The privatisation would see Pagcor’s casino business spun off to a private bidder. Previously Pagcor said this would give it more scope to invest, allowing it to “facilitate expansions, upgrades and innovations”.

Last month Pagcor hit out against “disinformation” spread on the privatisation. This was regarding a rumour it would spend ₱500m (£7.1m/€8.3m) to repair its Casino Filipino branch in Angeles City. The rumour stemmed from a social media post made by Pagcor employee Gian Samson. Samson alleged that Pagcor was fixing up the casino to appeal to potential buyers, who might wish to purchase it after the privatisation is complete.

Tengco dismissed the speculation and added that Pagcor would not pay for the renovation. This is because Pagcor does not own the Casino Filipino branch building, and the regulator struck a deal for the lessor to cover the costs.

“There is no truth in Mr Samson’s allegations because the said renovation will be borne by the lessor,” said Tengco at the time. “Pagcor will not spend a single cent on the renovation.”

In July 2023 Pagcor confirmed that it would enter the igaming sphere with the launch during Q1 2024.

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