Philippine Casinos Win $3.3B in 2022, Near Pre-Pandemic Business Levels

Philippine casinos won PHP184 billion (US$3.3 billion) in 2022, a healthy rebound from the pandemic for the gaming industry in the Southeast Asia nation.

Philippine casinos gaming revenue pandemic
City of Dreams Manila in Entertainment City is owned and operated by Melco Resorts. The Philippine casino was one of four commercial casinos in the capital region that helped fuel a gaming recovery in the Southeast Asia nation in 2022. (Image: Melco Resorts)

Data released Monday by PAGCOR — the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation — showed that the country’s gaming industry last year returned to near pre-pandemic conditions. Casino GGR in 2022 nearly doubled from the prior year when casino income totaled about $1.75 billion.

The four commercial casinos grouped in the Entertainment City market in the Manila capital were responsible for the bulk of the gaming action. City of Dreams Manila, Solaire Resort & Casino, Okada Manila, and Resorts World Manila won approximately $2.65 billion from gamblers.

Other commercially operated casinos in the Clark Freeport Zone and in Fiesta won about $399.5 million.

PAGCOR, which not only regulates casinos across the islands but also operates its own casinos and gaming satellites under the Casino Filipino brand, reported GGR of about $288.3 million. PAGCOR is a state-controlled enterprise that’s the second-largest tax generator for the Philippines government behind only the Internal Revenue and Customs bureaus.

Bingo, electronic gaming parlors, and betting on cockfighting added $549.1 million to bring total gaming revenue in the Philippines last year to about $3.9 billion.

Pandemic Turnaround

The Philippines’ gaming industry has been one of the quickest to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic in all of Asia. China’s Macau continues to labor to initiate a meaningful recovery, though gaming analysts believe that rebound has begun after China President Xi Jinping ended “zero-COVID” last November. Meanwhile, the Philippines’ gaming sector was alive and well throughout most of 2022.

The approximately $3.3 billion in 2022 Philippine casino income came within $600 million — or 15% — of the $3.9 billion that the commercial and PAGCOR casinos won in pre-pandemic 2019.

Optimism is high regarding the Philippines’ casino sector in the months and years ahead. After Macau forced out most of its junket groups that cater to the wealthiest gamblers across Southeast Asia, some of those VIP travel companies are expected to relocate their operations to the Philippines.

While PAGCOR says it will more closely monitor junket groups to keep better tabs on the international movement of money, the Philippines government says it will continue to allow such operators to work in conjunction with the integrated resorts in Manila.

Junkets typically offer high rollers in mainland China and elsewhere in Asia complimentary first-class travel and luxury accommodations in exchange for a pledge that they’ll gamble a certain amount. The casino shares the generated gaming revenue with the junket firm.

Recovery Rally

PAGCOR said casino GGR in the final quarter of 2022 totaled about $934 million, a 95% year-over-year improvement. The data reveals that casino income has increased for six consecutive months.

The Philippines lifted all COVID-19-related operating restrictions on commercial and state-owned casinos in late 2021. Border entry rules were eased in February 2022.

The ongoing rally is fueling more gaming development in the Philippines. One notable project comes from Bloomberry Resorts, which owns and operates Solaire.

Bloomberry officials said last week during the firm’s full-year earnings report that they’re expediting the completion of Solaire Resort North, a forthcoming casino in Quezon City north of Manila.

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