Chairman and CEO Alejandro Tengco stated that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation is seriously considering privatizing its casino business and assuming sole regulatory responsibility.
Tengco stated that the company’s management had planned to sell the casino business of the corporation to a private bidder. This would extend the reach of the regulator and allow the organization to continue its nation-building programs.
At the opening ceremony of the ASEAN Gaming Summit, held at the Marriott Manila Hotel in Manila, the Pagcor chief revealed the organisation’s plans. He was also the keynote speaker.
The Pagcor board , since Tengco was appointed in August 2022 has been open to privatisation discussions, but stressed that the welfare of employees during any transition is paramount.
Plans for 2023
The organisation plans to launch a number of projects in 2023 that are “geared towards benefiting gaming industry stakeholders [and] upholding responsible gambling.”
Tengco emphasized the creation and enhancement of online poker operations, disposal of obsolete gaming equipment, and the creation new regulatory manuals.
Tengco stated that “As we speak our licensing and regulatory team has already completed projects such as the updating of suppliers’ regulatory manuel, implementing rules, guidelines for foundations and crafting gaming employment license regulations prohibiting enter, stay and play.”
Tengco stated that, following the Philippines offshore gaming operators (POGOs), becoming a topic of public debate in 2022, the regulator had revised its policies on online gaming and that it was intensifying monitoring to ensure lawful compliance.
Pogos are an example of online gaming. They allow Philippines-based gaming companies to broadcast Pagcor-licensed online gambling to other jurisdictions, such as China.
Although the activity is legal in the Philippines, many of the illegal businesses operating in this sector remain in operation. They have been associated with murders, gang activity, and modern slavery.
In relations between the Philippines, China and the People’s Republic of China, the continued existence and sanction of the sector is a significant problem.
Tengco acknowledged that there had been enforcement failures in the past and called for new engagement with different government agencies, including the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Philippine National Police. This will allow Tengco to reform the Mutual Cooperation Agreement which governs the country’s fight against illegal gambling.
He said that while we recognize our limitations in enforcement and our ability to deal with illegal gambling, we strengthened our partnerships with different law enforcement agencies to address these concerns.
“We are currently studying the possibility to regulate other aspects of overseas gaming operations or the regulation of special business process outsourcing companies (BPOs), or those who serve legitimate operators licensed overseas. We also intend to amend the processing of penalties imposed upon overseas gaming operators and service providers in order discourage non-compliance or involvement in any illegal activity.”
Tengco stated that Pagcor plans to increase its allowed game offerings and products domestically to include esports and live dealer games, esports and online horse racing.