PAGCOR losing gaming business

PAGCOR’s shift is part of the agency’s goal to level the playing field and ensure future growth and viability for all industry players

PAGCOR chairman and CEO Alejandro Tengco delivers his keynote address during the first day of the IAG Academy Summit held from 13 to 14 September at the Hilton Manila. | Photograph courtesy of PAGCOR

State gaming firm Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., or PAGCOR, is transitioning towards a pure regulatory body from its current dual role as industry operator and regulator, the agency’s chairperson and CEO Alejandro Tengco said.

Tengco estimates that process of selling off all its gaming operations will be completed by 2025.

PAGCOR has eyed an initial P3.6 billion to P4 billion investment in Maharlika Investment Fund. State-owned Development Bank of the Philippines and Land Bank of the Philippines have delivered a total P75 billion to the fund.

Tengco during the opening session of the IAG Academy Summit on 13 September at Hilton Manila gave the keynote address and later was a panelist in a forum called “Voice of the Umpire: Regulators’ Talk.”

According to Tengco, PAGCOR’s shift is part of the agency’s goal to “level the playing field and ensure future growth and viability for all industry players.”

“We have started preparing for this transition in earnest, and we are starting where it matters most — within PAGCOR itself,” he said.


Strong suit

Tengco said that as a 40-year organization, PAGCOR knows its strengths and is aware of its limitations.

“We certainly know our potentials and capability to become the gold standard in the Asian gaming scene,” he said.

He said PAGCOR recognizes its people as its greatest asset but the shift to a purely regulatory role could impact some employees, thus the crafting of plans to avoid displacement especially in PAGCOR-operated casinos that will need to be privatized.

“We have been going around the country during the past few months, holding town hall meetings with our employees,” he said. “We tell them there is no reason to worry because we have plans in place to mitigate, if not totally avoid, any personnel displacement.”

“You will be surprised to know how people react to our plans, and how they express their trust in our process,” Tengco said.

The PAGCOR chief said the agency is also “making necessary changes in its corporate structure, business processes and procedures to make it more responsive and competitive.”

Transition plans include moving into a single corporate office to enhance coordination, efficiency and performance as well as modernizing existing casinos to attract more players and make PAGCOR’s assets more attractive to potential buyers.

Tengco told the summit audience, which includes regulators from the Asia-Pacific region, that PAGCOR has also recently implemented new regulations for international gaming licensees to lessen, if not eliminate, illegal activities.

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