Pagcor says Casino Filipino in Manila Bay can’t cease operations
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) on Tuesday said the Casino Filipino (CF) Manila Bay branch cannot cease its operations after the Commission on Audit (COA) noted the P2.113-billion worth of losses the branch incurred.
Pagcor said the branch cannot cease its operations due to a contract with Vanderwood Management Corporation which the previous administration entered into.
Further, Pagcor clarified that the branch only started its operations in 2017, and not 2014, as the COA report noted.
“Another point of clarification, CF Manila Bay only commenced operations in August 2017, less than two years to date. The P2.11 billion worth of losses cited by COA, which dated back to 2014, was not accurate as it included the revenue deficits of CF Pavilion, which ceased operations last March 2018,” Pagcor said in a statement, adding that the Pavillion branch is independent from the Manila Bay branch.
Pagcor said that the COA’s Audit Observation Memorandum (AOM) states that the “decrease in the net income is a combination of a declining total income and a steady rate of mandated contributions and Corporate Social Responsibility financial assistance.”
“As acknowledged in the AOM, CF Manila Bay has been operating ‘on a profit level after deducting the franchise taxes and the operating expenses (OPEX).’ It is only after deducting the mandated contributions and corporate social responsibility financial assistance, ‘which are independent on the income from gaming operations’ , that negative figures are registered,” Pagcor said.
Competition in gaming industry
Pagcor also acknowledged the competitive gaming industry in the country amid the rise of integrated resorts in Metro Manila.
Despite this, Pagcor said COA should also consider the Manila Bay branch’s “steady contributions to PAGCOR’s mandated beneficiaries ‘as part of the branch’s profits and contributions to nation-building’ and not as losses.”
“Since the start of its operations in 2017, CF Manila Bay has already contributed a total of P875.58 million for PAGCOR’s mandated beneficiaries including the 50% government share, the Philippine Sports Commission, the Bureau of Internal Revenue for the 5% franchise tax and the host cities’ share,” Pagcor explained.
Further, Pagcor noted that the branch’s gross gaming revenue has been “steadily increasing” since it opened, which resulted in a rise in net operating income from a monthly average of P4.22 million in 2017 to P13.38 million in 2018.
“To stay on a profit level and to avert revenue deficits, PAGCOR is rationalizing CF Manila Bay operations and reducing OPEX. It is currently focusing its marketing efforts on the branch’s potential niche, the high limit and VIP table games,” Pagcor said.
“Also, to generate additional revenues, CF Manila Bay is now pursuing the sublease of its second-floor area to junket operators. Furthermore, an income-sharing scheme is being seriously contemplated for a guaranteed positive bottom line,” it added.
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