Philippines: one of the most diverse gaming nations – Joe Pisano

Jade Entertainment’s founder and CEO Joe Pisano says that the Philippines is one of the most advanced countries regarding the diversity of gaming. The group, which started off as a distributor, has grown exponentially, most recently expanding its sports betting options by getting a PIGO license, with Pisano touting the nation as an example other regulators should come check out.

Here are some of the highlights:

What is the scope of what Jade Entertainment does?

“We were primarily a land-based distributor, and we represented companies – Novomatic, Ainsworth, Sega Sammy, InterVision, GamingArts – so a number of slot companies. We’re also a distributors for NRT, on the redemption terminals. We supply casinos with everything from slot machine table products, all the way down to the locks that go into the machines, paper. We’re headquartered here in the Philippines, with offices in Kualau Lumpur, Ho Chi Min city, Macau, and we’re also licensed in Saipan. That’s our land-based side of the business.

Then we have our sports betting side of the business, we are a PIGO operator – which is Philippine inland gaming, for the Philippine domestic market – and we’re both retail and online sportsbook here in the country. We have now expanded out into fantasy sports – fantasy cricket in Sri Lanka and India. And we see that as a marketing tool, or a player acquisition tool, we’ll continue to expand our fantasy side of the business. And then there is a new form of gaming, which is microgaming, or opinion betting, and it’s an exchange where you can have a bet on an opinion.”

Setting up as a PIGO operator

“When we started, we were retail only, so we did not have the remote gaming or online aspect of the business. It is because of COVID that we were able to work with the regulator to allow land-based – which was at the time closed – to extend to the online world. So when you play online, you are actually tagging to a land-based retail business.

Under our license, in the first six months we must be live or contracted with 10 retail sites, and within 18 months we need to be live in 30 retail sites. And we then can tag our online into those sites.”

Who’s your primary target at the ASEAN Gaming Summit?

“At this event, the local operators have dropped by to see us. We’re networking with a number of new people from around the region, that have come in to see what’s happening in the Philippines. We’re also promoting the Philippines as a growth nation in the gaming space. We’re probably one of the most advanced countries when it comes to the diversity of gaming that we have. We do have licensed sports betting – one of the few countries in Asia with licensed sports betting. We do have this PIGO, remote, we do have offshore online (POGO), we do have the integrated resorts that you see here around Manila Bay, Cebu. We do have eGames throughout the country, we have eBingo online, we have eBingo cafés. So, there’s a vast range of options here, and people are coming in to have a look at all these different models.”

How has the event been?

“These are always good events because they’re of a size where you can actually sit down, you hear people talking, communicate with them, you can take your time. And it’s an event that’s very well run, it’s well supported by the regulator – if we look on the other side of where the cameras are – PAGCOR, the regulator, has their stand here, they are approachable. We have other regulators coming here as well that are learning from what’s happening in the Philippines.”