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HomeIntelligenceDeep DiveGiving first right of refusal would simplify PAGCOR privatization: Chairman

Giving first right of refusal would simplify PAGCOR privatization: Chairman

There has been rampant speculation that the Philippine gaming operator (PAGCOR) would grant the right of ‘first refusal’ to the current operators of its Casino Filipino properties, which it aims to sell as soon as possible to resume its purely regulatory status.

While not confirming the news, the head of PAGCOR noted that it would be logical to allow the companies to continue to operate.

Speaking to AGB, Alejandro H. Tengco noted that continuity would be assured if the current operators were allowed to remain in their role.

“I don’t think one will even think of closing down a casino even for one minute,” he told AGB. “You have the comfort of being known inside that property. You are treated as a VIP client,” he notes of clientele.

“You try to close a property for two weeks – in your mind that’s already closed. This is just a natural consequence,” he told AGB.

Casino Filipino

PAGCOR, Casino Filipino

On the record, Tengco noted the work will be intense in the lead-up to such a disposal.

“To prevent that ‘headache’, I think that you go for right of first refusal, because they know, they’re operating, they know what the frameworks are, they have followed it, I don’t see them not following because now they own it 100 percent.

“For me, that will solve one aspect of so many issues.

“Number two, will others who are not our partners participate? Definitely. And especially in key locations. Mark my words today, there will be a lot of proposals for the key cities: Cebu, Davao, Pampanga, Angeles, Bacolod, Iloilo – these are key cities.

“When you just go through the numbers, you take out contributions to government and nation building, they’re making money,” notes the official.

Foreign investors and future growth

Foreign investors in casino projects need to face down a 60 percent local ownership mandate, which there are ways to circumvent, but getting a Filipino partner could be the key way in, notes Tengco.

But the current growth is tenuous. Tengco, fully aware of how far the upward spike can go, notes that “we’re trying to really concentrate making sure that we get the most out of this explosion – most especially in the eGame sector and I believe that there’s still room for growth. I believe that maybe in the next one or two years we will see this growth to be continuing.”

The official revealed to AGB that “Sometimes I ask myself: when will this stop? On the other hand it inspires me to work doubly harder so that we can sustain all this momentum. And I believe that if your intentions are pure, we’ll get everything going.”

Kelsey Wilhelm
Kelsey Wilhelmhttps://agbrief.com
Kelsey Wilhelm is a broadcast, print journalist and editor based in Asia for over 15 years. Focused on content creation, management, cross-cultural exchange and interviews for multi-lingual productions. Writing focus on gaming, business, politics, culture and heritage, events and celebrities, subcultures, music, film, art and fashion. Some of Kelsey's specialties are: editing, writing, copy creation, multi-lingual content production, cross-cultural exchange, content creation and management for Asian markets.

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