Covid-19 restrictions costing PAGCOR PHP6bn a month

31 March 2020

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has said that the current restrictions enforced in the country due to novel coronavirus (Covid-19) are costing the association up to PHP6bn (£95.1m/€107.4m/$117.8m) a month.

Like many countries around the world, the Philippines has introduced measures to slow the spread of the virus, including community quarantine orders on major cities such as the capital Manila.

However, despite such measures costing PAGCOR financially, Andrea Domingo, chairman and chief executive of the regulator and operator, said the organisation remains committed to helping the country fight coronavirus.

To date, PAGCOR has released a total of P20.5bn to the Philippines government to help support national efforts related to the pandemic, including a package worth PHP6bn that was made available last week.

“We still do our best to reach out to communities which do not have access to basic needs; they deserve all the help that we can give,” Domingo said.

In addition to financial support, PAGCOR has operated in line with government-ordered measures in terms of social distancing measures. On 9 March, President Rodrigo Duterte declared a state of public health emergency in the Philippines, and on 16 March, Luzon was placed under enhanced community quarantine.

PAGCOR ordered the temporary closure of all land-based gambling facilities on March 15, and extended the suspension order to the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator and its service providers on March 18.

“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,” Domingo said.

“The entire Philippine gaming industry will suffer but the people’s safety is of paramount importance - the employees, the customers and the public as a whole.”

Meanwhile, PAGCOR recently purchased PHP65m worth of food items to support front-line workers and communities in need of additional support during the crisis. PAGCOR’s volunteer employees helped in the repacking and distribution of goods.

Aside from PAGCOR, its licensees have also offered financial help, committing a total of PHP210m in funding, while POGOs have donated PHP150m for personal protective equipment, food and other essentials.