PAGCOR releases PHP6bn to aid national Covid-19 efforts

24 March 2020

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has released an additional PHP6bn (£100.8m/€109.4m/$118.0m) in funds to the country’s government to help support national efforts related to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The funds have been made available to the Socio-Civic Projects Fund (SCPF) of the Office of the President, bringing total funding from PAGCOR to PHP8.5bn, after it also released funding in PHP2bn and PHP500m tranches earlier this month.

PAGCOR chairman and chief executive Andrea Domingo said the remittances are pursuant to Section 7 (a) of Presidential Decree No. 1869 or the PAGCOR Charter, which mandates both the allocation and distribution of PAGCOR earnings for infrastructure and socio-civic projects.

“PAGCOR’s recent remittances to the government are intended for the various funding requirements relative to Proclamation No. 922 Declaring a State of Public Health Emergency throughout the Philippines due to coronavirus disease and the subsequent declaration of Enhanced Community Quarantine over the Entire Luzon,” Domingo said.

Aside from PAGCOR’s remittances totalling PHP8.5bn, the agency also released its PHP12bn cash dividends to the National Treasury yesterday (23 March).

In addition, Entertainment City licensees donated more than PHP200m while the offshore gaming operators allocated PHP150m for essential supplies including personal protective equipment, and food and medical supplies.

Rizalina Justol, deputy executive secretary for finance and admin at the Office of the President, said: “We are grateful to PAGCOR for its continued to support to the Office of the President. The hefty remittances we get from the agency are being used to for high-impact projects that will benefit a lot of Filipinos.”

Earlier this month, PAGCOR announced it was to suspend all gaming operations across the country in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The suspension applied to all land-based PAGCOR-owned casinos and licensed integrated resort-casinos, as well as electronic games, all forms of bingo, sports betting, poker and slot machine clubs, and all other activities, in line with orders from the Filipino government.

Restaurants and food outlets within the gaming areas have been allowed to stay open, while hotels where casinos and gaming facilities are housed may continue to accommodate guests.

PAGCOR also ordered the temporary suspension of offshore gaming operations and approved service providers in the Luzon region for the duration of the government-imposed quarantine.

Last month, the regulator reported an 11.7% year-on-year rise in gaming revenue for 2019, resulting in its total tax and corporate social responsibility contribution for the year rising above PHP56bn.

Total revenue from gaming amounted to PHP75.75bn in 2019, compared to the prior year’s PHP67.85bn total, beating the regulator’s full-year projections by PHP1.33bn.