PAGCOR Aims for P60-P80 Billion in Monumental Privatization Move

Alejandro Tengco, PAGCOR’s Chairman and CEO, has made waves with his recent announcement to privatize 45 of the corporation’s casinos by 2025’s third quarter. “Definitely, my trust is to privatize the 45 casinos of PAGCOR and I’m looking at 2025 as my timeline,” he stated during the House of Representatives’ national budget deliberations.

His rationale? Tengco aims to heighten the assets’ value, with the plan that privatizing them ensures this progression is unstoppable. “My goal is to increase the value of what we will privatize. This will keep going, it can’t be stopped,” he firmly expressed.

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PAGCOR’s financial report, presented by Vice President Sharon Quintanilla, shows the corporation’s promising trajectory. In 2022, the agency bagged ₱58.96 billion ($1 billion). Expectations for 2023 are set at ₱75.49 billion ($1.33 billion), with 2024’s projections at ₱80.28 billion ($4.72bn).

Yet, not everyone is applauding this move. Cagayan de Oro Representative, Rufus Rodriguez, shared his reservations, commenting, “It seems that everything will be in order in the coming years, so why are we going to sell the goose that lays the golden egg?” Rodriguez has plans to oppose the privatization, concerned about potential revenue losses.

To make matters more complex, the Department of Finance (DOF) initially valued PAGCOR between P200 billion to P250 billion. However, Tengco, during a House committee hearing, clarified that PAGCOR doesn’t own many of the real estate properties factored into that estimate, pegging the true value closer to P60 billion to P80 billion.

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Casino & Sports

Tengco highlighted that PAGCOR merely leases properties for its casinos. The intent behind the privatization is to redefine PAGCOR solely as a regulator, aligning with international standards. Globally, gaming agencies running their casinos can be perceived as conflicts of interest, a stance Tengco wants to shift away from. In support of this, Parañaque’s 1st District Representative, Edwin Olivarez, referenced data showing offshore operators performing better than PAGCOR-run establishments.

PAGCOR’s proactive stance against fraudulent activities is also notable. In light of approximately a thousand fake licenses in circulation, Tengco unveiled a redesigned logo to combat the deception, emphasizing a complete rebrand beyond just a logo switch.

While the discussions heat up, there’s no ignoring the corporation’s potential. Tengco projected PAGCOR’s annual revenue to soar to the P100-billion mark by 2025, with 2023 already on track to finish with a hefty P72 billion net income.

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