Asia round-up: Privatise PAGCOR? Unapproved junkets, Osaka & Yan Bingtao

Several stories make the cut in today's round-up of the latest Asian gambling news.


Philippines Finance Secretary calls for PAGCOR casino privatisation

The Philippines’ Department of Finance Secretary, Benjamin Diokno, has backed the call for the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to privatise its casinos and solely assume the role of the country’s regulator. 

Diokno shares the views of many, including PAGCOR’s own Chairman Alejandro Tengco, who recently said the body’s transition from both an operator and regulator to just a regulator was appealing. 

On the one hand, PAGCOR wants to drive profits from its 40+ casinos in the Philippines, while on the other, it must impose regulations to ensure responsible gambling and AML/CFT protocols are firmly in place.  

Diokno claims it is wrong that the body continues to play out these conflicting roles, saying: “PAGCOR is a regulator but at the same time it operates gambling companies. That’s wrong. 

“If you’re a regulator, stick to that. You cannot run gambling casinos. It’s like saying that you have a central bank and yet you’re also running a bank. That cannot work. 

“We [should] privatise its operations so PAGCOR can stick to being a regulator.” 

The privitisation of PAGCOR is currently being evaluated by the Philippines’ Governance Commission, although there is resistance to this move.  

PAGCOR’s casinos bring in a wealth of revenue, and under current Philippine Government plans, revenue from PAGCOR is expected to contribute to a newly proposed Maharlika Wealth Fund. 

This state fund will be created to invest in global markets and international infrastructure projects, and PAGCOR’s contribution is expected to be 10% of its annual GGR. 

Therefore, the issue of privatising PAGCOR remains a tricky situation for Philippine politicians to navigate.  

Australia’s The Ville Casino accused of using unapproved junkets 

The Ville Casino in Townsville, Queensland, has been accused of using unapproved junkets to bring gamblers to its tables. 

“If you’re a regulator, stick to that. You cannot run gambling casinos. It’s like saying that you have a central bank and yet you’re also running a bank. That cannot work"

The Philippines’ Department of Finance Secretary, Benjamin Diokno

The venue has been charged with breaching the state’s casino regulations following a nine-month probe by the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR). Regulations state that casinos must approve agreements or arrangements, including junkets, as noted by a Liquor, Gaming and Fair Trading spokeswoman. 

She commented: “Queensland casinos are expected to operate lawfully, ethically, and in a way that maintains the highest standards of integrity and public confidence. 

“OLGR takes matters of non-compliance by casino operators seriously. It is important that the penalties for breaches of Queensland’s casino legislation are appropriate and send a strong message that unlawful and criminal behaviour will not be tolerated.” 

Osaka Governor says integrated resort delays “not at risk” yet 

Governor of Osaka Hirofumi Yoshimura says the planned opening of a casino resort in the region in 2029 is not yet at risk of delay. 

This is despite prolonged screening examinations currently being undertaken by the Japanese Government.  

A determination of construction proposals was expected this autumn, but so far this has yet to be completed.  

Governor Yoshimura recently said it would be difficult for a final determination to be made this year, despite the risk of delay to the construction of the resort.  

Snooker player Yan Bingtao suspended pending match-fixing investigation 

Chinese snooker player Yan Bingtao has been suspended from competing on the World Snooker Tour with immediate effect.  

In a statement, the World Snooker Tour said this was due to “an ongoing investigation into allegations of manipulating the outcome of matches for betting purposes. 

“WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson has decided to suspend Yan Bingtao from attending or competing on the World Snooker Tour with immediate effect.” 

World No. 16 Bingtao was due to play Ashley Hugill in the first round of the English Open on Monday. 

Missed a big gambling industry story in Asia? Don't worry, Gambling Insider has you covered with our Asia round-up.     

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