August 7, 2017 by Ella McDonald

Andrea DomingoThe Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) chairwoman Andrea Domingo has said that the overall gaming revenue for the country in 2017 is likely to witness only a small increase over the previous year.

Domingo said that the gaming regulator will record gross gaming revenue of PHP150 billion ($2.99 billion), revising an earlier estimate and confirming an expected decline. She attributed the cut in expectation to the negative impact caused by the Resorts World Manila attack on June 2 when a lone gunman stormed the casino and caused chaos which resulted in the death of 38 people.

An earlier report in the Nikkei Asia Review had quoted Domingo as stating that Pagcor’s expected GGR for the current year would be in the region of PHP155 billion and PHP160 billion, an increase of 30 percent increase over its official target for 2016. The gaming industry had estimated much higher revenue of PHP149 billion for 2016.

In the immediate aftermath of the Resorts World Manila attack, Domingo has asserted that there would be no adverse impact from it on the country’s gaming industry. Pagcor ordered the closure of the Resorts World Manila property until its investigation into the property’s security arrangements were carried out.

The suspension of operations at Resorts World Manila resulted in the property suffering gaming revenue loss of around PHP60 million per day according to its operator. The casino was allowed to resume normal operations on June 29. Overall casino gross gaming revenue has since recovered with analysts attributing much of the revival to the newer venues – City of Dreams Manila, Solaire Resort and Casino and Okada Manila.

Brokerage firm Maybank ATR Kim Eng Securities Inc stated in a June report that the impact of the attack will be felt by the industry for a period of two to three years affecting both client sentiment and visitations.

Domingo stated that her reduced forecast also includes losses due to the closure of smaller gaming outfits in the country. In December 2016, two casinos owned by Macau-based entrepreneur Jack Lam Yin Lok’s company Jimei Group were closed after it was revealed that operations were being conducted without necessary licenses and employees were working illegal at the casinos. The two casinos closed are the Fontana Casino located at the Fontana Hot Spring Leisure Parks at the Clark Freeport Zone on Luzon, and Fort Ilocandia Hotel and Casino located in Laoag City also in Luzon.

Another reason for the reduced gaming revenue is the slower-than-expected growth in casino operations of the newest integrated casino to open in the country – Okada Manila.