In the Philippines, the government has reportedly revealed that it intends to sell off the 46 casinos currently operated by the Philippine Amusement And Gaming Corporation by the end of the year and transform the state-run entity’s sole mission into one of a regulator.
According to a report from the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper, the revelation came from Carlos Dominguez, the nation’s Finance Secretary, with the island country’s Privatization Council currently studying how to price the casinos and their associated licenses.
“If our casinos were to replace a glass that is broken, I think it will take ages as compared to what Okada [Manila] and Solaire [Resort And Casino] can do,” Dominguez told the newspaper last week during the 50th annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank in Yokohama, Japan. “It is better [for the government] to move out of [casino operations]. And secondly, of course, it will remove the conflict of interest when you are the regulator as well.”
Dominguez is the former Chief Executive Officer for Philippine Airlines and reportedly explained that his administration had yet to receive feelers from firms that may be interested in bidding for the right to take over any of the casinos currently operated by the Philippine Amusement And Gaming Corporation.
“Personally, I have not received [offers] because they have not set out the terms of the privatization,” Dominguez told the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “You have to set out the terms [and] then people will come. Of course, we will make it attractive since we do want to raise the revenues from this and remove the conflict [on interest] that’s ongoing and existing.”
Following his inauguration as the nation’s 16th President in late-June, Rodrigo Duterte reportedly instructed the Philippine Amusement And Gaming Corporation to sell off its casino estate in order to raise funds for the state and rid the agency of any possible conflict of interest concerns.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that the Philippine Amusement And Gaming Corporation is one of the county’s biggest state-owned money-making enterprises with its first-quarter net income having recently increased by over 26% year-on-year to hit $26 million while its gross gaming revenues improved by 27% to reach $280.63 million. The casino operator is required to hand over half of its annual gross earnings to the state with this sum amounting to $147.71 million for the three months to the end of March.