The Philippines casino market is officially recovering.
And no, we’re not talking about the country’s new iGaming initiatives, designed to stem the tide of coronavirus-related PAGCOR losses.
No, we’re talking about the tried-and-true brick-and-mortar industry.
Ever since COVID reared its ugly head in early 2020, Entertainment City venues in Metro Manila (and retail gambling houses elsewhere in the country) have seen their revenues crippled.
And given that much of the Philippine economy is predicated on gambling tourism in these areas, that lack of revenue has had tremendous down-market effects on other important industries in the island nation.
However, with the recent easing of coronavirus quarantines and alert levels – particularly in Manila – the gambling market is seeing its revenues climb consistently week over week and month over month.
Make no mistake, these numbers aren’t anywhere near pre-COVID levels, but they’re the best they’ve been in a long time, and the industry is moving forward at full speed.
As an example of how far the Philippines gambling sector has come in 2021, PAGCOR’s Q3 numbers show a quarterly revenue of PHP 26.94 billion ($537.6 million), which is up nearly 53% compared to Q3 2020.
Meanwhile, PAGCOR-operated casinos and gambling outlets have increased their earnings year-to-year by 84%, with slots up 125% and table games up 141%.
Notably, Q3 is the first full quarter in which legal domestic iGaming – albeit limited – have been available.
However, it’s unlikely that these online casino games have contributed too much to the quarter’s overall growth, as participation is reserved for established gamblers rated as “VIPs” at the various Philippine casinos hosting these electronic gambling games.
Also notably, electronic sabong – aka e-sabong or online cockfighting – generated a whopping PHP 1.21 billion ($23.9 million).
Legal online sabong is a relatively new development in the Philippines, and it’s off to an extremely good start, by the numbers.
Indeed, sabong – in all its forms – is the one PH gambling game that seems to have completely weathered the COVID storm from the outset, and the national pastime shows no signs of slowing down.
On the news of the excellent quarter, the Philippine government has revealed its plans to open a quarantine-free “travel bubble” with South Korea.
This would allow fully vaccinated South Korean tourists to visit the Philippines without having to undergo any quarantine measures, and it’s relevant for two reasons.
One: South Korea is the number-one tourism source for the Philippines, accounting for more annual visitors – roughly two million on average – than even China or the United States.
Two: South Koreans make up the Philippines’ largest customer base for the Clark Freeport Zone’s burgeoning gambling venues, accounting for up to 70% of the region’s annual gross gaming revenue.
Per Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Philippines Tourism Secretary:
“We’ve been talking to Korea. They are our number one tourists and they want [to arrange] chartered flights to Bohol but they are trying to figure out the quarantine requirements [when returning to Korea].
We’re still in talks because we can remove the quarantine [requirement] now but the problem is going back. The problem now is that even if there are no days in quarantine when coming to the Philippines, going back to Asia is quite strict.
We are hoping as the vaccination rate increases and cases go down that there will be no quarantine for people going back to their countries. That’s what is being discussed right now.
So we are looking at all the tourist destinations but it is really Korea that has shown interest in travelling to the country.”
With COVID-19 cases plummeting in the Philippines by nearly a factor of 10, the “bubble” could burst – in a good way! – sooner rather than later.
Manny Pacquiao For President Weigh-In
Until the 2022 Philippine Presidential Election, we’re going to include the current Presidential betting odds – as they currently stand – at the bottom of every new article.
This way, we can keep tabs on the chances each candidate has to win the race.
And while we’re rooting for PacMan (who’s currently trending in second place behind favorite Bongbong Marcos) it’s really anyone’s election at this point.
Note: Previous odds are listed in parentheses, where applicable.
2022 Philippine President Odds – Winner
- Bongbong Marcos -110 (-120)
- Manny Pacquiao +200 (+170)
- Bong Go +315 (+3000)
- Leni Robredo +1200 (+1050)
- Isko Moreno +2500 (+1000)
- Sara Duterte-Carpio +4000 (+850)
- Alan Peter Cayetano +10000 (+10000)
- Antonio Trillanes +10000 (+10000)
Manny Pacquiao To Win Philippines Presidency In 2022?
- No -300
- Yes +200