PAGCOR -the state-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation- has posted net income down nearly 87% to P203.6 million ($3.9 million) in 2021, according to new figures released by the regulator.
The Philippines casino industry was severely hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, with lockdowns and preventive measures still in place during the last year. In comparison, Pagcor posted P1.55 billion ($30.3 million) in 2020.
The corporation’s total income net of gaming of taxes and contributions settled at P18.35 billion ($359.3 million) last year, down by 9.4% from P20.26 billion ($396.7 million) in 2020, according to Business Mirror. Moreover, expenses, which include contributions to the national government, reached P17.86 billion (349.7 million), down 4.48% from 2020.
Andrea Domingo, PAGCOR Chairman, told the cited news source that the significant drop in net income was attributable to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the absence of non-gaming revenues. Moreover, the closure of some Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (Pogos) also contributed to the income decline.
“The Pogos missed their target by almost 20% for lack of manpower, a good number closed down and [were impacted by] the slowing down of the world economy,” Domingo said. It is estimated that about 32 out of the former 60 Pogos in the Philippines have left the country, most of them having already transferred to other jurisdictions.
The Chairman further revealed that, due to the drop in revenues, there will be fewer funds to contribute to government programs, including Universal Health Care. In comparison, 2020 proved to be a better year for the state-run corporation as Pagcor was able to accumulate savings from the first three months of the year, in which casinos were in full operation.
Along with results for full-year 2021, the gaming regulator also reported income from gaming operations for Q4 2021. For the three months to 31 December 2021, Pagcor reported income of P32.63 billion ($638.9 million), up 8.8% from the same period the prior year, and up 46.5% from the prior quarter.
The results paint a more optimistic picture for the country’s casino industry: the quarter was marked by an easing of pandemic-related restrictions across Metro Manila, amid a noticeable decrease in cases throughout the Philippines.
However, the new year saw the reintroduction of measures by the government, which ordered casinos and other gambling establishments to operate at limited capacity after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) recommended raising the COVID-19 alert level in Metro Manila from Level 2 to Level 3.
In an effort to try to limit infections by the Omicron coronavirus variant, the Alert Level 3 remained in place through most of January. Manila’s integrated resorts were granted permission to continue operations at 75% capacity provided they maintained strict COVID-19 safety measures.