President Duterte's Confession Indicates Philippines Nationals to Receive RegulationPublished August 20, 2021 by Lee R
Philippines policy is set to be transformed to harness revenues for heretofore prohibited local play.
An apparent about-face in Philippines policy reminds how iGaming economics can chance policy.
Presidential Flip Flop
Notorious hardliner President Rodrigo Duterte flip-flopped from his earlier staunch opposition to gambling in the jurisdiction when he acknowledged the benefits iGaming revenue can add to thinning government reserves compounded by the COVID economic hit.
“Now that we need money, the most sensible thing is really just to encourage those activities,” explained Duterte in state-run news sources, following with a pragmatic confession:
“When it comes to the pandemic, we’re running out of money. We used up all our reserved funds to contain the viral virus from rampaging all throughout the country.”
Rising iGaming Stocks
The frankness proved helpful to iGaming almost instantly, driving up key stocks such as Manila’s Solaire Resort & Casino owner Bloomberry Resorts Corp. (6.5 percent); Philippine-based online gaming company PhilWeb Corp. (7.5 percent); and Philippine-based gaming holding company Leisure & Resorts World Corp. (5.7 percent).
Duterte's new attitude flies in the face of a hard-line stance he effected from 2018 when he halted construction on a $1.5 billion Manila casino resort just moments after newly licensed project developer Landing International's ceremonial groundbreaking; and blocking a Galaxy Entertainment $500 million casino resort project for Philippine vacation island Boracay which had already been approved by the jurisdiction's gaming authority Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
The next year 2019 President Duterte suspended all Philippines offshore gaming operator (POGO) licenses, with Duterte subsequently refused to yield to China’s demand for the Philippines to shutter the Philippines' offshore iGaming operations exclusively targeting non-national foreign players, while further asserting that he could no longer “control” gambling and would not enforce prohibitions against local players finding places to play.
All of this management led to the perception of a struggling or abandoned model for iGaming for Philippine nationals.
With Duterte's new admission of economic hardship paving the way for opening up licensed iGaming to locals in order to create additional tax revenue to supplement PAGCOR's contributions from offering offshore iGaming to foreigners. The upward trend in stocks indicates the global investor appeal of the Philippines as an emerging jurisdiction.