Newly appointed Chairman and Chief Executive, Alejandro Tengco, has requested “time to study” PAGCOR regulator-cum-operator roles before considering the privatization of the 40 casinos the agency runs across the country.

requests “time to study” before committing to privatisation

PAGCOR Chair considers online, landbased regulatory role, 

requests “time to study” before committing to privatisation

Newly appointed Chairman and Chief Executive, Alejandro Tengco, has requested “time to study” PAGCOR regulator-cum-operator roles before considering the privatization of the 40 casinos the agency runs across the country.

The comments from PAGCOR new Chairman and Chief Executive, Alejandro Tengco, come after Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno’s told lawmakers that the government “will be very aggressive in our privatization effort” of PAGCOR, during the Development Budget Coordination Committee briefing with the House Appropriations Committee last Friday.

Secretary Diokno said the sale of PAGCOR’s gaming assets is among the options being considered by the Marcos Administration to raise additional revenues, local media reported. 

In the event of separation of roles, Tengco stated that PAGCOR’s would remain the regulating agency for online gaming. 

“If PAGCOR will be able to draw the line and distinguish, and if that happens PAGCOR can be the regulator for gaming operations, both land-based and online,” the Chair told local media. 

In turn, for landbased casino operations, Tengco said that “For the PAGCOR operated casinos nationwide, if we make decisions, the best thing that we could foresee is to privatise them.”

The privatization of PAGCOR has been brought up numerous times in past Administrations as a means to further increase one of the country’s largest tax contributor and resolve the conflicting roles of Regulator and Operator. 

The previous Administration expanded its regulatory footprint, recalling First Cagayan Master Licensor status for offshore online gaming and creating the POGO framework.   

On the ground, the push to privatize PAGCOR-owned casino assets gained momentum just as the new PAGCOR board was appointed.

“We are hoping to be given time to study this. That is part of our current thrust and agenda to really distinguish whether we are a regulator or an operator,” PAGCOR Chair Tengco said in reaction to comments at a House of Representatives Committee on Tuesday, local media The Philippine Star reported.

PAGCOR reported a massive jump in the net income at PHP2.16 billion ($38.4 million) for the first half of 2022, as compared to PHP79.1 million in revenues in the same period during the last year.

PAGCOR is responsible for overseeing the operation of approximately 40 state-owned casinos under the “Casino Filipino” brand as well as licensees while also regulating private-sector land based casinos, parimutuels, and others, as well as online gaming under the POGO’s and PIGOs framework, and their respective service providers.