PAGCOR may reopen casinos in June or July

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) is eyeing to reopen this June or next month to generate jobs and revenues to boost the country’s post-COVID-19 lockdown. 

PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Andrea Domingo said the gaming regulatory body is optimistic that its owned and operated casinos could “resume operations this June or at the very latest in July.”

Domingo also said in a separate text message that casinos in areas under modified general (MGCQ) could resume operation but at 50% operating capacity only. 

The rest of the Philippines is now under an MGCQ. At the same time, general community quarantine (GCQ) is still implemented in Metro Manila, Pangasinan, Region II, Region III, Region IV-A, Region VII, Cebu City, Mandaue City, Zamboanga City, and Davao City until 15.

Domingo added that the reopening of gaming operations would also benefit the and trigger economic activities. 

“The local gaming industry employs about 132,000 direct hires. It also generates many other economic activities and businesses like restaurants, hotels, malls in Integrated Resorts (IRs), services, transport, and real estate,” she said.

“There will be more economic employment opportunities when other gaming stations and casinos open.”

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PAGCOR may reopen casinos in June or July

PAGCOR stopped casino operations and other gaming activities on March 15, when the government first implemented lockdown measures to prevent coronavirus spread.

“We would have been doing very well, but then COVID came, and somehow we have to take three steps back. But we’re going to get back and provide funding for the government which is badly needed now,” Domingo said.

“Aside from our mandated contributions, we recently contributed P12 billion cash dividends to the National Treasury. We also gave P2.5 billion to the Office of the President (OP) to help the Department of Health purchase personal protective equipment (PPEs) and medical equipment they need to fight COVID,” Domingo said.

“We likewise  gave P12 billion to the OP’s Socio-Civic Projects Fund, a portion of which is being used to provide free medicines to government hospitals and military officials every month,” she added.

PAGCOR earlier remitted an additional P5 billion cash dividends to the National Treasury, bringing its total contribution from 2019 to P17 billion.