Philippines gaming regulator PAGCOR says it could still be a few years before nationwide gross gaming revenues return to pre-COVID levels, with full recovery not expected until 2026.
The somewhat moderate estimate was provided by PAGCOR’s licensing and regulatory group chief, Daniel Cecilio, in an interview with Reuters, who stated, “Definitely there will be no more lockdowns but bringing back the confidence of players is hard.”
Philippines GGR reached Php256 billion (US$4.62 billion) in 2019 before plummeting 54.3% year-on-year to Php98.8 billion (US$1.78 billion) in 2020. Revenues climbed to Php131 billion (US$2.36 billion) last year and reached Php39.2 billion (US$749 million) in the first three months of 2022.
However, Cecilio told Reuters he only expects GGR to surpass 2019 levels by 2026, when the agency predicts GGR will reach at least Php256 billion (US$4.62 billion).
The recovery would be driven by pent-up demand and greater consumer confidence among both domestic and foreign gamblers, Cecilio said.
PAGCOR’s estimates appear somewhat moderate in comparison to some analyst estimates, with Morgan Stanley having recently tipped Bloomberry Resorts Corp – owner and operator of Solaire Resort & Casino – to reach 71% of 2019 EBITDA levels this year and surpass 2019 levels by 2024, thanks in part to the impending launch of its second Manila IR, Solaire North, next year.