- The iGaming market was launched in the Philippines in 2020 after COVID-19 hit
- iGaming legislation allows land-based operators to offer online gaming to locals
- Land based casinos have depended heavily on iGaming revenues in recent times
The COVID-19 pandemic had dealt a huge blow to casinos operating in the Philippines but the land-based industry is well on the road to recovery, partly thanks to online gaming which quickly came to the rescue when operators needed an alternative source of revenue during the worldwide lockdowns.
In late 2020, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) opened online gaming to domestic players to generate more funds in the wake of the pandemic.
Since then, integrated resorts across the country have been allowed to offer iGaming services to locals through the Philippines Inland Gaming Operator (PIGO) scheme.
The Philippines became the first in Asia to make such a move, and land-based operators have nothing but praises for the new scheme which they said had saved their businesses during one of the industry’s darkest periods. What was initially introduced as a temporary remedy has now grown to become a major driver of growth for casinos in the country.
Joe Pisano, the CEO of electronic gaming machine and technology provider Jade Entertainment and Gaming Technologies, said that making online gaming available to the domestic market greatly helped in mitigating the impact of the global health crisis on the country’s casino industry.
The PIGO scheme allowed operators to continue doing business even when their land-based venues were shut down due to the pandemic. This, according to Pisano, provided them with a “disaster recovery plan” for the future. Post-pandemic, online gaming continues to boost casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) in the Philippines.
Casino GGR Up in Q1 of 2022
At the moment, some of the country’s integrated resorts, including Okada Manila, Solaire, City of Dreams Manila, as well as Resorts World Manila, are running their respective online products and are reaping the benefits of the pioneering scheme.
The country’s casino industry is poised for more growth this year, with PAGCOR reporting a net income of PHP624.7 million for the first quarter of 2022, that’s a significant increase from the PHP152.6 million generated in the same period last year. Revenue from online gaming has helped increase the numbers.
PAGCOR has been receiving praises for launching the pioneering PIGO scheme. Andrea Domingo has led the agency for six years. Newly-elected President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has yet to appoint a new PAGCOR head to replace Domingo.