The Philippines’ gambling industry is on track to double its gross gaming revenue by 2028, with a surge in tourists, particularly affluent Chinese gamblers, propelling its expansion. This revelation was shared by the head of the country’s gaming regulator on Wednesday, Reuters news report said.
Anticipating the influx of visitors and international players, the Philippines has unveiled plans to introduce six new casino facilities, collectively valued at approximately $3 billion. This strategic move aims to fortify the nation’s flourishing gaming sector against rising competition from neighboring countries like Japan, which is in the midst of constructing a large-scale casino, and Thailand, where gambling legalization efforts are underway.
Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) Chairman Alejandro Tengco expressed his optimism about the industry’s future, projecting a minimum of 10 percent annual growth in gross gaming revenue (GGR). The GGR is predicted to achieve an all-time high this year, and within five years, is estimated to reach an impressive range of 450 billion to 500 billion pesos ($7.9 billion to $8.8 billion), according to Tengco.
The online gaming industry, a pivotal economic contributor in the Philippines, faced a setback due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it has demonstrated resilience and began its recovery in 2021, culminating in a GGR of 214 billion in 2022. Tengco attributed the current success to local players while highlighting the potential for further growth from the international market, buoyed by the improvement in foreign travel guidelines.
Despite the positive outlook, Tengco acknowledged potential challenges that could hinder long-term projections. Factors such as geopolitical conflicts between nations, the proliferation of illegal gambling activities, and potential economic downturns could impact the industry’s growth trajectory.
The Philippines’ gambling landscape, which boasts a miniature version of the iconic Las Vegas gaming strip in the capital city, has emerged as a magnet for high-stakes gamblers from countries including China, Japan, and South Korea. The allure of the Philippines has prompted both local and foreign companies to invest in billion-dollar integrated casino-resorts, contributing to its allure.
To bolster its position as a premier gambling destination, the Philippines has embarked on a series of initiatives. These include privatizing state-owned casinos, introducing fresh gaming projects, and implementing policy reforms. In addition to the four existing casinos in the capital, plans are in motion to establish six additional gaming facilities across the nation. Notable among these projects are a high-value casino and golf course in Pampanga province, a $300 million endeavor by Bloomberry Resorts in Cavite province, and a $300 million venture by Global-Estate Resorts on the popular holiday island of Boracay.
While the emergence of rival casinos in Japan and Thailand poses a challenge, the Philippines is determined to secure its reputation as the preferred gaming destination through proactive measures and innovative strategies, as outlined by Tengco.