[Casino Filipino Online will] bring several benefits and opportunities such as increased revenue, extended reach and market expansion, cost efficiency, and enhanced customer engagement. The state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) reportedly plans to introduce regulated online poker in the Philippines, as it also looks to launch its own branded online casino early next year.
During a keynote speech at Thursday’s SiGMA Asia International Summit in Manila, CEO Alejandro Tengco said PAGCOR would launch an online version of Casino Filipino sometime in Q1 2024.
PAGCOR operates a chain of brick-and-mortar gambling facilities under the Casino Filipino brand. The chain includes nine major branches and roughly three dozen satellite casinos located across the Philippines.
Tengco told attendees of the SiGMA conference that an online version of Casino Filipino would “bring several benefits and opportunities such as increased revenue, extended reach and market expansion, cost efficiency, and enhanced customer engagement.”
But the CEO warned days earlier at a separate conference that the Philippines would need additional regulation and oversight before taking Casino Filipino online.
“For this year and beyond, PAGCOR intends to bring regulatory frameworks for online poker operations, enhance slot machine operations, upgrade gaming equipment, and create and upgrade [existing] regulatory frameworks,” Tengco told attendees of the G2E Asia Conference in Macao on July 13, according to a report from Inside Asian Gaming.
The corporation had already updated regulations covering suppliers and employment in the gaming industry and was working to amend existing regulations to allow for domestic online gaming, Tengco said. In the meantime, PAGCOR was looking to implement regulatory controls designed to encourage compliance and discourage illegal gaming activity.
We aim to prioritize education and health by building more education facilities, hospitals, and wellness centers nationwide. “I know much still needs to be done; however, I firmly believe that we are on the right track toward making the Philippines a prime gaming destination in the ASEAN region,” Tengco said, referring to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, according to Inside Asian Gaming. He added that the corporation planned to be “more responsive to the needs of the changing times” and would also address “the social ills that come with gaming operations,” but did not elaborate on what its responsible gambling initiatives would entail or how it planned to combat problem gambling.
In a separate interview with SiGMA Magazine, the CEO touted cooperation between PAGCOR and five entities — the Philippine National Police (PNP), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) — in the fight against illegal offshore gaming sites. The agencies agreed to collaborate last September, according to Tengco.
“Issues pertaining to illegal offshore gaming operations are being seriously addressed by PAGCOR,” the CEO told SiGMA Magazine in April. “Aside from our existing inter-agency agreement with the PNP, NBI, DOJ, DOLE, and DILG, we also strengthened partnership with agencies like the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, Bureau of Immigration, and the Anti-Money Laundering Council to forestall any illegal activities and labor practices related to [offshore operators].”
Tengco also told SiGMA Magazine that nearly 70% of the corporation’s gaming revenue is directed back to the Philippine government and is focused on participation in corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects. “We aim to prioritize education and health by building more education facilities, hospitals, and wellness centers nationwide,” he said.