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PAGCOR to sell its casinos by year end

The

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Philippine Finance Ministry have confirmed its intention to sell its state run casinos before the end of the year, according to the Philippine Inquirer.

At present the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) operates 46 casinos across the Philippines and also acts as the countries gaming regulator, prompting concerns about a conflict of interest.

In light of these concerns, President Rodrigo Duterte told PAGCOR at the end of 2016 that it would have to sell its casinos to raise funds for the state.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez told reporters: “If our casinos were to replace a glass that’s broken, I think it will take ages as compared to what Okada and Solaire can do. It’s 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.”

PAGCOR is required by law to give half of its annual earnings back to the Philippine government, with the funds being used in community and social projects around the country.

In the first quarter of 2017 PAGCOR paid over P7.37bn in tax revenue and contributions back to the government.

No offers have at present been made for any of the properties operated by PAGCOR despite a reported 26.75% rise in its year-on-year net income for Q1 2017.

Mr. Dominguez told the Inquirer: “Personally, I haven’t gotten offers because they haven’t set out the terms of the privatization. You have to set out the terms, 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.”


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