The Chair and CEO of Philippines gaming regulator PAGCOR, Andrea Domingo, says three of Entertainment City’s integrated resort operators have already started online gaming operations under the nation’s so-called PIGO (Philippine Inland Gaming Operator) scheme.
According to comments made during a local Manila online forum and quoted by news outlet PhilStar, Solaire Resort & Casino, Resorts World Manila and Okada Manila are the IRs in question with Domingo stating that all three have already “started their online table games and slot machines.”
As reported by IAG, Okada Manila’s operating entity, Tiger Resort, Leisure & Entertainment, Inc (TRLEI), confirmed last month that it had received a letter from PAGCOR dated 19 April “approving entry into online gaming for table games and electric gaming machines.”
TRLEI said at the time that is would launch online operations as soon as it completes test simulations and clears all necessary conditions, however it also described itself as “the first among the four integrated resorts comprising Entertainment City in Metro Manila” to be granted permission to start online gaming operations.
Under the PIGO scheme, casino and integrated resort operators can be licensed to offer online gambling to existing registered members only, allowing these members to log in and play from anywhere within the country.
By comparison, the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) scheme permits licensed online operators to offer online gaming services only outside of the Philippines.
With Manila’s casinos currently closed as part of Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) measures in place to control a COVID-19 outbreak, PIGO is seen as a way of bringing in much needed revenues.
Domingo noted though that PIGO licenses were “all limited because we need to regulate them. Not just anyone can play because of non-proliferation and responsible gaming. Those are the two principles that we are upholding.”
She also revealed that she has started lobbying Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to allow the partial reopening of casinos as soon as Manila’s COVID-19 restrictions are eased to General Community Quarantine classification.
Her comments come after PAGCOR last week reported a 49.1% year-on-year decline in income from gaming operations in 1Q21 and 79.1% decline in profit to Php152.6 million (US$3.2 million).