PAGCOR eyes gradual reopening of casinos
The gaming regulator wants to reopen casinos gradually either this month or in July, Pagcor chairman and chief executive officer Andrea Domingo said on Monday.
AFP/File
PAGCOR eyes gradual reopening of casinos
Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - June 10, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) is eyeing the resumption of casino operations this month to save the jobs of thousands of workers employed by the gaming industry and generate much-needed revenues for the government’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response.

The gaming regulator wants to reopen casinos gradually either this month or in July, Pagcor chairman and chief executive officer Andrea Domingo said on Monday.

Pagcor suspended the operations of casinos last March when the government imposed community quarantine measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Domingo said operators should follow health and safety protocols if casinos would be allowed to reopen.

“We cannot resume operations with 100 percent of our workforce. We have to observe social distancing. We need to conduct rapid testing for our employees,” she said.

Domingo said the resumption of casino operations would save 132,000 workers from being jobless and allow the government to generate revenues to fund measures against COVID-19.

“We have to maximize revenue collection because we need the money not only for COVID-19 response but also to jumpstart the economy after the health crisis is over,” she said.

Last month, casino operator Okada Manila announced that it would lay off more than 1,000 employees, citing revenue losses due to lockdown measures.

In the first quarter of the year, Pagcor’s net income dropped to P777.44 million from P1.55 billion in the same period last year.

Pagcor’s revenues from gaming operations also went down by 5.72 percent to P17.22 billion from P18.27 billion.

Earlier, Domingo said the suspension of casino operations due to quarantine restrictions would cost the gaming regulator an estimated P6 billion in lost revenues every month.

“We have been doing very well, but COVID-19 came and somehow we have to take three steps back. But we are going to bounce back this month or at the very latest in July,” she said.

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