AS the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take a toll on the local gaming industry’s revenue performance, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) recently approved the P34.64 million grant to cities and local government units that host a Casino Filipino branch.
The financial aid, according to PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Andrea Domingo, will help some of PAGCOR’s host cities cushion the impact of the pandemic on the local economy.
At the height of the strict lockdowns in April 2020, PAGCOR suspended the release of host cities share due to revenue losses caused by the suspension of PAGCOR’s gaming operations and limited operating capacity when the community restrictions eventually eased up.
“We resumed payment of the host cities’ share in January 2021, provided that the Casino Filipino branch is allowed to operate by host local government unit, and on the condition that said branch meets the minimum target or operates at break-even at least,” Domingo explained.
“With the approved grant of P34.64 million, our host cities will be able to receive financial support that is almost equivalent to their host city share allocation under full operational capacity,” she added.
From 2016 to March 2020, PAGCOR has remitted over P1.93 billion to cities nationwide that host a Casino Filipino branch. Among these were the local governments of Manila, Pasay, Angeles City, Olongapo, Tagaytay, Cavite, Cebu, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City, Bacolod, Negros Occidental, Iloilo, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte and Davao.
According to Domingo, the amount remitted by PAGCOR to its host communities is being used for various projects including infrastructure, basic health services, peace and order, livelihood, emergency assistance to calamity victims, education programs, anti-drug abuse campaigns, among others.
“PAGCOR is able to produce revenues that help boost community development projects by regulating gaming and preventing the proliferation of illegal gambling in the Philippines. Through the share, many cities that host a Casino Filipino branch were able to fund sustainable programs, such as water filtering systems in their public schools or funding for disaster response initiatives,” she said.