Pagcor to stop issuing franchise for casinos

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. said it would adhere to President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to temporarily stop issuing any franchise for casinos in the country despite contributing P15.798 billion to the government coffers from gaming operations in the first quarter of the year.

In his speech during the conference of the League of Municipalities Visayas Island Cluster in Cebu on Tuesday, the President said he would not allow gambling under his term.

“There’s no gambling. I will not allow gambling. I’m not issuing any franchise for gambling in the entire Philippines now. It’s a moratorium...I hate gambling,” the President said.

Duterte’s moratorium on new casinos was announced after the President sacked all officials of the Nayong Pilipino Foundation over the questionable 70-year property lease contract with Hong Kong-based Landing International Development Ltd. that the President found “grossly disadvantageous to the government.”

In a statement, Pagcor said it reaffirmed its commitment and readiness to support the policies and pronouncement of the President pertaining to the country’s gaming industry.

“As a regulator, Pagcor is duty bound to ensure that all-gaming related regulations are adhered to, balancing the responsibility of increase badly-needed revenues for the government and safeguarding the best interest of the Filipino people,” Pagcor said. 

However, the President said those casinos already operating could continue their operations.

“Those already there, they enjoy it because you will not have it in other places. No more gambling. Just work. But if there are resorts and they still talk about gambling, you better say it to them at an early time. No more gambling,” he said.

Earlier, Pagcor chairman Andrea    Domingo said the agency would no longer process applications for gaming licenses following the ban, adding four applications for licenses, mostly local businessmen were pending with the agency.

Pagcor regulates, operates, authorizes and issues licenses to games of cards and games of numbers, particularly casino gaming in the Philippines. 

According to the agency’s report, Pagcor paid out gaming taxes and contributions amounting to P8.294 billion for the quarter, which is 12.5 percent higher than the payments made in the same period for 2017 at P7.372 billion. 

The payments were made in compliance with the 5-percent franchise tax, and its 50-percent share to the government, including contributions to the Dangerous Drugs Board.

Total expenses for the quarter reached P7.031 billion, which expanded by 9.66 percent, from P6.412 billion in the same quarter last year.

Topics: Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. , President Rodrigo Duterte , League of Municipalities Visayas Island Cluster
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