LIKE many businesses and economies which are experiencing downturn due to the novel corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has not been spared from revenue losses.
On the average, PAGCOR is losing P5 to 6 billion a month as the enhanced community quarantine is being imposed in Metro Manila and other major cities nationwide.
Despite these losses, the country's gaming regulator and operator has remitted a total of P20.5 billion to the national government to help cushion the impact of COVID-19 in the country.
PAGCOR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Andrea D. Domingo said that despite the big drop in its revenues, PAGCOR does not hesitate to respond to the needs of the Filipinos, especially the frontliners who risk their lives in this battle.
“We still do our best to reach out to communities which do not have access to basic needs. They deserve all the help that we can give,” she said.
On March 9, President Rodrigo Duterte formally declared a state of public health emergency in the Philippines, and on March 16, Luzon was placed under enhanced community quarantine to quell the rising COVID-19 cases in the country.
In compliance with this directive, PAGCOR ordered the temporary closure of all land-based casinos, eGames, bingo, poker, slot machine clubs and sports betting facilities on March 15, and extended the suspension order to POGO and its Service Providers on March 18.
“At the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country, PAGCOR immediately did its part in banning crowd gatherings through the closure order on all gaming facilities even if it meant an adverse effect on its earnings. The entire Philippine gaming industry will suffer but the people’s safety is of paramount importance - the employees, the customers and the public as a whole," Domingo added.
PAGCOR’s efforts did not stop in the suspension order. It immediately remitted P12 billion cash dividends to the National Treasury and turned over P8.5 billion to the Socio-Civic Projects Fund of the Office of the President.
In addition, PAGCOR recently purchased P65 million worth of food items including rice bought from the National Food Authority, canned goods and other basic necessities for distribution to frontliners and communities in dire need of help.
PAGCOR’s volunteer employees helped in the repacking and distribution of goods which started on March 28, and will resume in the coming days.
PAGCOR’s licensees have likewise extended financial assistance for COVID-19 relief operations. The four Entertainment City licensed casinos provided a total of P210 million, while Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOs) donated P150 million, for PPEs, food and other essentials.