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Saturday, June 22, 2024

PAGCOR’s Al Tengco: ‘Executive of the Year’

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“There’s also PAGCOR’s mandate to transform itself into a purely regulator role once its privatization takes full effect by 2025”

IN THE realm of global gaming, a nomination for the “Executive of the Year Award” is enough for a fantastic achievement in itself.

These remarks came from one of the organizers of a prestigious award-giving event held on June 4 at Conrad Hotel- Manila.

The organizers named the Philippines’ own PAGCOR Chairman-CEO Alejandro H. Tengco as the global gaming industry’s “Executive of the Year” during that epochal awards night.

Tengco bested top honchos of MGM, Aristocrat Gaming, Jade Entertainment, Sands and Wynn Resorts Macau.

Another Philippine company, Bloomberry Resorts Corporation controlled by billionaire Enrique K. Razon Jr., won the award as “Casino Operator of the Year,” an  accolade it shared with Galaxy Entertainment, a Hong Kong-based operator of hotels and casinos.

Mariya Savova, event manager for the Global Gaming Awards — a project of the publication “Gambling Insider” — said of the host: “The Philippines is now the most dynamic and innovative gaming market in Asia with developments in both the land-based and online verticals, so it certainly was a great pleasure to have the Global Gaming Awards Asia-Pacific here in Manila.”

For this noteworthy feat, Tengco brought honor and pride to the country. My congratulations.

More than a tribute to PAGCOR, the award “validated the efforts raised during the past two years (and) proved we are leading the agency in the right direction,” Tengco said during dinner at Tiger’s Kitchen in the sprawling Newport City.

Incidentally, I had the honor and privilege to have met Newport’s Big Boss, Mr. Kevin Tan during the dinner hosted by Tiger Kitchen owner and H&H Chairman Bryan Oh and Zeal 7 Rays Chairman Seonghan Kim.

Tengco added: “This award inspires me to work harder so that our plans and aspirations for PAGCOR may become a reality during my tenure as chairman and CEO under the administration of President Bong Bong Marcos.”

I will discuss Tan’s plans and accomplishments as a young, game-changing businessman in another opinion piece.

Tengco, a lawyer and risk-taker, said the award “inspires me to work harder so our plans and aspirations for PAGCOR may become a reality during my tenure as chairman and CEO.”

Under Tengco’s watch, PAGCOR aims at becoming the “gold standard” of the Asian gaming industry.

In the first quarter of 2024, PAGCOR chalked up a total income of P25.24 billion, a 42.57 percent surge from figures in the same period last year.

The three-month earnings put the state gaming firm on track to reach the P100 -billion annual income for the year, which would be a first in the 40-year history of the state gaming firm.

“We are happy to announce PAGCOR is able to sustain our growth trajectory in the first quarter of 2024 and this should help position us into achieving another record-breaking year,” Tengco said.

Gaming operations accounted for the bulk of revenues with P22.29 billion. Of this amount, 43.46 percent or P9.69 billion came from the e-Games sector (e-Bingo, e-Games and Bingo grantees) while licensed casinos (integrated resorts) brought in P8.04 billion (36.06 ercent).

But revenues from PAGCOR-run casinos under the Casino Filipino brand continued to slide, earning P3.7 billion, down from the 20.68 percent share it contributed to PAGCOR’s revenues in 2023.

Offshore gaming operations contributed P860.89 million or 3.86 percent of the total gaming income.

“As we said earlier, the e-games sector will be our major source of gaming revenues this year and in the next few years as innovation and technological integration allows the sector to offer more excitement and convenience to gamers,” Tengco said.

He said, the gaming agency’s robust earnings bode well for the government’s various socio-civic programs including funding for the Universal Healthcare Program which provides health insurance to millions of poor Filipinos through PhilHealth.

Charity organizations and even local government units also depend on the gaming agency for much-needed donations. PAGCOR has ample provisions for these needs, Tengco said.

Of the agency’s nearly P19 billion net income in the first quarter, P15.56 billion will go to its “Contributions to Nation-Building.”

This includes the 5 percent franchise tax; 50 percent government share; shares for LGUs hosting PAGCOR casinos; other socio-civic projects; 5 percent share of the Philippine Sports Commission; funding for the Sports Incentives and Benefits Act; and 1 percent share of the Board of Claims to compensate persons wrongfully convicted.

There’s also PAGCOR’s mandate to transform itself into a purely regulator role once its privatization takes full effect by 2025.

Being a top-tier manager,Tengco is ready and well prepared to take up the challenges facing the state-gaming agency.

(The author, a writer and publisher of coffee-table books, is president/executive director of the Million Trees Foundation Inc, a non-government outfit advocating tree planting and watershed protection.)

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