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Philippines regulator buoyant on surpassing Singapore

The Philippines expects to become Asia's second-largest casino hub behind Macau due to new resorts and a focus on online gambling.

Philippines overtake singapore
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The Philippines is positioned to potentially surpass Singapore as Asia's second-largest gambling destination, trailing only Macau, according to Alejandro Tengco, Chairman and CEO of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor).

In an interview with Bloomberg, Tengco commented: “If Singapore doesn’t expand, they will plateau. Don’t be surprised if next year we will surpass them." 

Tengco listed upcoming developments, including the opening of an integrated resort by Bloombery Resorts Corp and plans for additional casino projects.

The country anticipates reaching a record-high gross gaming revenue of 336bn pesos ($6.1bn) this year, a notable increase from the previous year's 285bn pesos. 

Singapore's Gambling Regulatory Authority refrained from commenting on Tengco's statements, though Tengco estimated Singapore's annual gross gaming revenue to be around $6bn.

The Philippines aims to attract 7.7 million foreign tourists this year, seeking to recover from the 2023 figure of 5.45m, which remained below the pre-pandemic level of 8.26m in 2019.

New casino projects, with projected costs of up to $1.2bn, are in the pipeline for Manila, Clark, Cebu and Boracay.

Chinese arrivals dropped to 15% of 2019 levels last year, but Tengco affirmed that Chinese high rollers continue to patronise Philippine casinos.

Furthermore, the Philippines is focusing on bolstering its online casino sector, which significantly contributed to gross gaming revenue last year.

Pagcor plans to launch its online gaming website and seeks a joint venture partner to operate it. This initiative aligns with Pagcor's strategy to privatise its casino assets and transition into a regulatory-focused entity.

Pagcor aims to offer its casinos for sale by late next year or early 2026, with expected proceeds ranging from 60bn to 80bn pesos.

In 2023, the Philippines reported a record-high gross gaming revenue of Php285.27 bn, demonstrating a post-Covid recovery stronger than that seen in Macau.

Furthermore, 188Bet returns to the Philippines from the Isle of Man after renewed confidence in the country's gaming sector.


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