Alejandro Tengco, the CEO and chairman of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor), has stated that the country’s gambling industry has nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels. In a recent speech, Tengco emphasized that the lifting of travel and movement restrictions has led to an increase in leisure, travel, and entertainment activities, which is expected to sustain the growth of the Philippines gaming industry in the coming years.

Amidst the strict measures imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic, including travel restrictions and temporary closure of land-based facilities, the gambling industry in the Philippines has seen a significant rebound now that all measures have been lifted.

Tengco noted that the industry is approaching gross gaming revenue levels from 2019, the last full year before the pandemic, during which Pagcor reported record gaming revenue. The corporation recently reported revenue of PHP55.95bn for the first nine months of 2023, with most of the revenue coming from gaming and operations.

Tengco expressed optimism that the Philippines’ gaming industry could surpass its 2019 record if current trends continue. He credited the resilience of domestic players and the influx of new tourists for filling the void left by the absence of traditional high rollers and junkets.

Looking ahead, Tengco highlighted the opening of new integrated resorts as a contributing factor to the industry’s growth. He specifically mentioned the Clark Freeport Zone and Special Economic Zone as potential key areas for gaming and tourism in the coming years.

In addition, Pagcor has outlined a modernization program to boost revenue, including plans to introduce 3,000 new slot machines and a new online platform. Pagcor is also in the process of transitioning to a “purely regulatory” role, signaling the potential privatization of its gambling operations to level the playing field and allow for future growth and viability among other operators.

Tengco’s positive outlook and plans for the future indicate a resurgence in the Philippines’ gambling industry, with expectations of setting new gaming revenue records in the years to come.

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