The coronavirus outbreak is affecting the human lives tremendously. With the shut down to markets, private and public sectors, almost half of the world is forced to isolate themselves. This in turn, has largely impacted countries around the world. A few days ago, Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte announced that all non-essential services, including casinos are set to remain close until 30 April.
Back then, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the President accepted the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to extend the Luzon-wide quarantine until 11:59 pm of 30 April. Originally enforced for a duration of one month to 12 April 2020. This implementation of community quarantine across the Philippine’s main island Luzon has led to the selling of 47 casinos owned by gaming regulator PAGCOR.
The Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez said that privatizing the state-run casinos could generate PHP200 billion in annual revenue for the government. Along with selling small-town lottery operations could rake Philippines about PHP300 billion. The Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon pointed to PAGCOR’s casino operations as well as the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) as state assets that could be immediately sold to help fund the fight against COVID-19.
CNN Philippines reported Drilon stating, “The government does not have to look far to raise additional revenues. There are ‘low-hanging fruits’ the government can immediately tap to provide the much-needed resources for our country to survive this pandemic.”
In 2018, the Chairman and CEO of PAGCOR Andrea Domingo stated that the sale of the regulator’s casinos had been put on hold due to the growing gaming revenues they had been generating. “I think for the next few years, because they’re still profitable – because the PAGCOR owned and operated casinos, the GGR they yield goes directly to the government, 100%.”
“With the IRs, our share of the GGR is about 19.5% so if you look into that and the contribution to the national government every year, if you take this out it will take five years for a new IR to contribute that amount which automatically lessens our net contribution to the national government by Php22 billion for at least for the next 10 years.”
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