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Old February 24th, 2007, 07:47 PM   #1
kiretoce
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Gambling and Gaming Industry

Gambling is life
By Francis Earl Cueto Sunday, February 25, 2007

Life is a gamble, wise men warn. But in the Philippines today—thanks to Pagcor—formally and legally.

Despite the surge of Pagcor income that has succeeded immensely in supporting the cash-strapped government, several lawmakers, nongovernment organizations and especially the religious sector are still firmly against government engaging in the business of operating casinos.

Edward King, spokesman for Pagcor chairman Efraim Genuino, told The Manila Times that first and foremost, one thing that people should remember is that Pagcor is a creation of law.

Pagcor, a government-owned and controlled corporation was established to regulate all games of chance in the Philippines.

It was born in 1976, created by then-President Marcos to oversee the operation of gaming casinos, to generate funds for the government’s developmental projects and to help curb illegal gambling.

An unaudited Pagcor report shows that Pagcor, “a vital arm of the government in nation building, “ netted P25.4 billion in income making it one of the biggest earners for 2006.”

So is Pagcor a proof that casinos and legalized gaming can be a valuable source of government funding and an effective engine for national development?

“We are created by law, we are just following what the law orders us to do. It is not a question that is up to us to decide. We must obey the law,” King said.

Under the law, he explained, Pagcor is required to run casinos.

He said that the most important thing about the government running casinos is that all funds that generated from Pagcor goes back to the government “100 percent.”

“We are operating the casinos but here is where everything lies: 100 percent of the income that we generate goes back to the government,” King said.

The state-run gaming firm surpassed its earlier record-breaking P21.9-billion total annual income in 2004 and breached its target income of P23.41 billion for 2005. It surpassed the P24.5 billion target for 2006 as well.

Pagcor’s 2005 total income of P23.4 billion was 6.8 percent higher than the P21.9 billion it posted a year before.

The issue of privatizing Pagcor is also very controversial, with several lawmakers pushing for it and even more congressmen against it.

King said that while the act can be considered purely from the noble and idealistic viewpoint that government should not be in the business of gambling, one has to think from the point of view of generating funds for the government.

He said that if the government would privatize Pagcor, then all income goes to the private sector leaving only a small amount in taxes being paid to the government coffers.

“If you give Pagcor to the private, they will just be paying taxes. There is a huge difference between a fraction of income from taxes to 100 percent,” King said.

An official from Pagcor who requested anonymity even claimed that perhaps the lawmakers have their own personal agenda. Maybe they want to be the ones who will buy and operate Pagcor, they said.

“Its simple, privatize Pagcor they get the income, the lawmakers may perhaps be getting their own kickbacks from certain lobby groups who want Pagcor for their personal purpose,” the official said.

King merely laughed at the statement of the official adding that he did not want to comment, not wanting to get into trouble with the congressmen.

King, however, added that if Pagcor is run privately, all measures such as that of the antimoney laundering might be removed and the private personalities owning it may use the gaming for the bad purposes that the antimoney-laundering council wants to prevent.

“Pagcor is created by law with the purpose of bringing much needed funds to the government. Certainly if you are run privately mahirap bantayan. How can you impose legislation on it which means how can we protect ourselves now from money laundering, how do we prevent this money going out of the country,” he said.

“We are able to ensure that these things do not happen since the protective mechanism are all in place here. ’Yung mga private casinos for instance maaaring lumalabas iyang pera at magamit for money laundering once they are privately owned,” he said.

“We do what we can,” King said.

King also thanked Congress for granting them a fresh 25-year franchise.

King explained that government departments are dependent on Pagcor. The Department of Education is seeking more money from us.

Even many church organizations get donations from Pagcor despite the opposition to Pagcor of some bishops.

Pagcor, in President Arroyo’s own words, is an important part of Philippine nation building.

In its endeavor to generate more funds for the government’s pressing concerns, Pagcor has ventured beyond casino management.

To meet the challenges of the new millennium, the gaming corporation is constantly looking for ways to improve its gaming products and maximizing the efficiency of its gaming operations.

Philippine Gaming Market

Sports betting is, to a vast population of Filipinos, a way of life from cockfighting to horseracing and basketball. Betting on number combination games such as lotteries and basketball “ending” offered by illegal bookies, has become part of millions of Filipinos’ daily routine.

The gaming market in the Philippines is estimated to be over P100 billion a year. Illegal gaming accounts for half of the country’s gaming industry revenues.

Internet Gaming Market

The Internet gaming global market is estimated to be US$10 billion in 2002 and is predicted to reach US$14.5 billion in year 2006.

Internet Sports Betting and Internet Casino dominates most of the revenues. Although US now accounts for half of industry revenues, the gaming market is changing and the biggest area of growth is in places like Europe and Asia.

Pagcor aims to go global and is keen on gaining a share of the Internet gaming revenue. Internet gaming will allow Pagcor to reach out to local and foreign gaming enthusiasts with less investment cost.

About Philweb

Capitalizing on its Internet technology experience, Philweb in early 2003 made a deliberate decision to focus on Internet Gaming. It established partner relationship with leading software providers in addition to establishing its own gaming software capability.

On the basis of this expertise, Philweb was successful in concluding a contract with Pagcor, whereby Philweb became Pagcor’s overall service provider for Internet Gaming technology. To date, Philweb has concluded 2 Internet Gaming agreements with Pagcor, as follows:

Acknowledging the Filipino’s yearning for sports and gaming as well as the continuing popularity of local sports betting, Pagcor, in partnership with Philweb Corp., designed and deployed a new and innovative way to utilize Internet technology in fueling the Filipino’s passion for sports—Internet Sports Betting. Pagcor aims to compete head on with illegal bookies and migrate most, if not all, of the illegal gaming revenues into additional source of income for the government.

Recognizing Philweb’s extensive knowledge in Internet technology, software development expertise and its nationwide marketing distribution network, Pagcor signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Philweb on November 28, 2002, engaging the latter as its technology service provider and marketing consultant for Internet Sports Betting. Subsequently, Philweb and Pagcor likewise entered into several supplemental agreements to cover the expansion programs of Pagcor on Internet Sports Betting. Philweb is a PLDT subsidiary.

Pagcor license for Internet casino

Pagcor has decided to offer casino games outside the land-based casinos via Internet Casino Stations. Compared with the land-based counterpart, Internet Casino Stations require less investment because of their low overhead as well as operating and marketing costs. Also, Internet Casino offers gaming enthusiasts the opportunity to play casino games in the privacy and comfort of their homes at any time of the day and at their own pace.

As an additional feature, a prepaid card system will be incorporated in Pagcor’s Internet Casino betting platform to avoid credit card fraud and fast-track its nationwide distribution.

Philweb is partnering once more with Pagcor to accelerate the market entry of the latter’s Internet Casino products in the Philippines. With a management team rich with Internet Casino business expertise, Philweb expects to realize with Pagcor the revenue potential of Internet Casino.

Currently, Pagcor and Philweb are pursuing for the expansion of their Internet Gaming relationship to now include Internet Casino. Philweb will provide its technology and marketing services to Pagcor. These services shall include the following:

Recently, Philweb, the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) affiliate that oversees the operation of an Internet casino business on behalf of the government, expects to report a full-year profit for 2006, the first since it was set up in 2000.

Philweb reported net profit of P42 million ($861,848) in the first nine months of 2006.

The company, which oversees 45 Internet casino stations, most of them in Manila, said gross betting volume in online casinos had surged from P562 million in 2004 to P10.8 billion in 2005.

It is likely to rise by another 30 percent in 2006, according to Dennis Valdes, the company’s president.

That forecast looked optimistic on a recent Saturday night in Manila on the basis of competition between a bookmaker’s office, crowded with laborers betting on horses, and an Internet casino station a few feet away where no-one was queuing to play.

But the relative quiet outside the online casino belies the vast and rapid flow of money into the newest game of chance to hit Manila. On entry into what looks like an Internet café, where about 25 desktop computers are linked to a powerful server running gambling software, customers are asked to buy at least P500 worth of credits, and it is not uncommon for players to spend P1,000 in just 15 minutes.

“We started out as an ISP [Internet service provider] and it was only recently that the company refocused on Internet gambling,” said Valdes.

In November 2002, Philweb won a contract to provide consultancy services to the state gambling monopoly, which is trying to curb an illegal market that it estimates to be worth about P50 billion a year.

Stock market investors are making a big bet on Philweb, whose share price more than doubled in 2006 and has risen by about a 10th so far this year.

Its market capitalization of P3.9 billion is now almost a quarter more than the combined market value of the two bigger and older companies that run horse races.
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Old February 24th, 2007, 08:04 PM   #2
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Jueteng, again?
The Philippine Star

Many Filipinos have long suspected that gambling money finances political campaigns in this country. But this has never been established as fact. The politicians who benefit from gambling funds will certainly lack the political will to spearhead an investigation. Reflecting the sentiments of the political leadership, law enforcers will also have no interest in verifying those perceptions. There are cops who even openly admit that gambling money finances police operations in certain areas of the country.

Now the issue is being revived as the campaign for the May elections heats up. As in the past, no proof will be presented to substantiate the allegations; for the accusers, merely raising the issue is enough. This is due not just to the difficulty of gathering evidence that can stand in court, especially when cops themselves are uncooperative, but also to the laziness of accusers. This failure to present evidence has doomed every attempt in the past 20 years to pin down suspected gambling barons and the beneficiaries of their largesse.

Complicating the problem is the ambivalent state policy on gambling, which deprives the government of the moral high ground to crack down on illegal numbers games popular among the poor such as jueteng. Despite new laws imposing stiffer punishment for illegal gambling, jueteng continues to thrive and enrich gambling lords.

The government could go after these gambling barons and plug one of the largest sources of corruption by applying new laws against money laundering or even old laws on tax evasion. Lawmakers could pass legislation that will compel transparency in campaign contributions. It may be impossible to stop Filipinos from gambling, but it is not impossible to discourage the corruption that is engendered by illegal gambling.

Unfortunately for the nation, political will has always been lacking in both the executive and legislative branches when it comes to stopping the flow of money, especially big money, regardless of the source. The status quo has worked for the typical Filipino politician, whose attitude is, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?
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Old February 24th, 2007, 08:16 PM   #3
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i don't see anything wrong with it. why not. Filipinos are born gamblers , its the asian in them. why not legalize it . they will find a way to gamble legal or not look at jueteng. my cousin was able to get a grant from pagcor when her brother was sick and had no money to pay fo the hospital bills.
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Old February 24th, 2007, 11:53 PM   #4
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I am for legalizing it, that way, "jueteng lords" will be remnants of the past.
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Old February 25th, 2007, 04:27 AM   #5
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Yes, legalize and regulate!!!
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Old February 25th, 2007, 09:11 AM   #6
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Place jueteng inside the casinos!
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Old February 25th, 2007, 02:07 PM   #7
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Why not? Make sure that the bets will be in hundred grands to keep the masa out of reach.
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Old February 26th, 2007, 12:08 AM   #8
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tong its
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Old February 26th, 2007, 07:02 AM   #9
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I just think people have to go beyond the pleasure of risk. With or without the casinos, people will take risk in anything...either pyramiding, stock market, buying bargain items, investment in condo like Icon...(ay sori..mali..mali...) yung ibang condo lang pala....or even a simple mah-jong or kara krus....

People gamble thinking they will win...
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Old February 26th, 2007, 04:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wind Shear View Post
Why not? Make sure that the bets will be in hundred grands to keep the masa out of reach.
I was also thinking of that!
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Old February 26th, 2007, 05:48 PM   #11
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I don't like any form of gambling. Maraming nalululong diyan sa sugal. Bahay, Lupa, ari-arian at pati asawa ay ibebenta makapagsugal lang.

O' pustahan tayo, hindi kaya ng pamahalaan ma-regulate yang jueteng.

Place Your Bets! ...........










...........

Teka, Did I just gambled?
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Old March 4th, 2007, 07:10 PM   #12
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San Miguel for Online Casino Players



Pagcor, one of the Philippines’ largest gaming corporations, has teamed up with Spanish beer brand San Miguel to serve free beer at their Internet casino stations (ICS).

The company operates a nationwide chain of Games.com gaming outlets with a minimum of 10 personal computer terminals dedicated solely to playing eCasinoFilipino games accessible 24 hours a day.


The range of eCasinoFilipino games offered inside the ICSs include Baccarat Blackjack which bring in 56.8 percent and 30.5 percent of the total gross bet turnover, respectively, followed by 7 percent for Poker games and 3.3 percent for slot-machine games.


Pagcor started with a humble 11 ICS stations in 2004, and the number more than tripled by year-end of 2005.


A key factor in the boom in the Philippines’ online casino industry is the 3 percent increase in the commission rate offered to Pagcor’s the operators from 22 percent to 25 percent of gross winnings in mid 2005, spurring more operators to take on ICS machines.

http://www.onlinecasinonews.com/ocnv...e.asp?id=12968
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Old March 4th, 2007, 10:09 PM   #13
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RTC judge hears
landmark Web gambling case
http://www.manilatimes.net/national/...70305pro1.html
ANGELES CITY, Pampanga: The government’s campaign against the proliferation of illegal Internet gambling activities hangs in the balance as a judge in Angeles City today hears the motion for reconsideration on the quashing of the search warrant used to raid an alleged illegal Internet gambling operation in a hangar in Clark Field in Pampanga last year.

The case is being heard by Judge Omar Viola of Branch 57 of the Third Judicial Region’s Regional Trial Court in Angeles City.

The case stems from a raid in November last year by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), on behalf of Pagcor, on a hangar leased by British Grand Vision International Company and TransGlobal Pacific Airways.

The NBI team led by special agent, Renato Marcaup confiscated various casino and online computer gaming paraphernalia, resulting in the filing of cases against the two firms’ employees and officials.

Among those charged were Steve Huang and Edgar Lim.

Pagcor and the NBI fear their case faces serious threats.

Already, their cornerstone search warrant was quashed in court and the government’s own city prosecutor in Angeles City issued a “novel” finding that PD 1602 (anti-illegal gambling law) “does not punish the crime of Internet gambling.”

The Marcos-era PD 1602 was promulgated years before the Internet revolutionized instantaneous, real-time communication.

In the motion for reconsideration, the government aims to show how evidence in the illegal Internet gambling operation was built up, including the use of the website www.dsl.168*bets.com, through to the set up, staffing and operation of the Internet-enabled gambling operation that was eventually busted at the Transglobal building located at the Clark Special Economic Zone’s Hangar 7260.

The government team will show that Murcuap, having registered and posed as on line better on the illegal gambling activities which were exposed, and witness that trained and worked as one of the on-line dealers in the illegal operations, have personal knowledge of illegal gambling activities.

While there are no live players in Internet gambling, the government notes there are real and actual players of the online casino game being operated by the respondent in the Philippines, as shown by the actual gambling done by Murcuap in the course of investigation proves this.”
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Old March 22nd, 2007, 01:38 AM   #14
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$10B RP Las Vegas to rise
By Helen Flores The Philippine Star 03/22/2007

A $10-billion Las Vegas-style gaming and entertainment complex will rise on an 800-hectare reclaimed area on Roxas Boulevard beginning this year, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) said yesterday.

Pagcor chairman and chief executive officer Efraim Genuino said construction of the entertainment complex, to be called "Pagcor City," will be handled mainly by foreign investors.

"Our country will not spend for these developments. We’re just selling a concept," he said.

The project is expected to attract 10 million foreign visitors in five years and generate millions of jobs for Filipinos.

"The Pagcor City will have arcades, malls, hotels, wellness spas, cultural center, sports arena and theme parks, patterned after Macau and Las Vegas," Genuino said at a press briefing on the sideline of a tourism conference called Asia’s GEM (Gaming and Entertainment plus Leisure Expo Manila) at the Hyatt Hotel and Casino Manila yesterday.

"Development of big hotels and big entertainment areas is a key to attracting tourists, as a matter of fact our requirement is for the investors to come up with the design or proposal that will attract tourism," Genuino said.

"The reason why we lack tourists is we lack hotels," he said.

Yesterday’s event kicked off the three-day Asia’s GEM 2007, co-presented by Pagcor and the Euro-Asian Cooperation on Gaming.

He said investors from Japan, the United States, South Korea, and some European countries have signified interest in investing in the project, according to Genuino.

One of the biggest casinos in the world, the Loutraki, is expected to set up shop in Pagcor City.

Pagcor City will be developed over a seven-year period in three phases.

Genuino said the first phase of the project, which begins this year, includes the construction of a resort hotel and a theme park. Phase 1 is expected to be completed in two years.

The entertainment complex’s casino will have 1,000 table games and 3,000 slot machines.

"The Asia’s GEM 2007 marks the paradigm shift of Pagcor from gaming to entertainment. For our economy to recover economically, we need tourism. And for us to invite tourists to come here, we need projects like Asia’s GEM to get the support of foreign investors," he said.

"The thrust now is not casino gaming but total entertainment. In the global arena, only 25 percent of the revenues of gaming destinations such as Las Vegas come from actual gambling," Genuino said, adding that some 80 percent of Pagcor City’s revenues is expected to come from foreign visitors.

"Our country stands to gain substantial revenues from this market as casino visitors spend more than general tourists," he said.

"It is important to have the destinations and attractions that would ensure a pleasant stay for casino visitors. Most of them travel with their families and take side trips," Genuino said.

The complex will have a "tropical" area featuring white sand beaches and lagoons, all facing Manila Bay. A Winter Park is also being eyed with large ice skating rinks as well as real snow and skiing facilities.

A Marina complex will feature a walk-through glass tunnel showcasing different marine species in the Asia-Pacific region. A fish port and a seafood restaurant to be patterned after the Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco are also being eyed for Pagcor City.

Plans include the construction of a boardwalk to provide convenient public access to a pedestrian promenade lined with specialty restaurants and outdoor cafes. An observation tower envisioned to be the tallest in the world will be erected in the area. Genuino said Nayong Pilipino may also relocate to Pagcor City.

He said Japanese investors are interested in developing retirement homes for the growing Japanese retiree market. "We were able to attract interest from a number of Japanese retirees," Genuino said.

Pagcor is consistently the third biggest income-generating arm of the government. Last year, Pagcor registered revenues of P35 billion compared with only P23 billion in 2005.

Under its charter, Pagcor serves three crucial roles: to regulate and operate all games of chance in the country, generate funds for the government’s infrastructure and socio-civic projects, and boost local tourism.

Led by the southern Chinese enclave of Macau, Asia is witnessing a gambling boom as the region looks to new, glitzy Las Vegas-style casino complexes offering entertainment and exhibition venues to attract more tourists and business travelers.
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Old March 22nd, 2007, 02:41 AM   #15
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Pagcor all set for Phase I of ‘Entertainment City’

By Honey Madrilejos-Reyes
Reporter

STATE-CONTROLLED Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) will start developing this year the first phase of the ambitious Bagong Nayon Pilipino-Entertainment City Manila, otherwise known as Pagcor City.

At the sidelines of the 2007 Asia’s Gaming and Entertainment Leisure Expo held Wednesday at the Hyatt Hotel and Casino Manila, Pagcor chairman and chief executive Efraim Genuino said Phase I consists of a resort hotel, a theme park and gaming centers.

“Our goal is to complete Phase I
in two years and immediately proceed with the second phase, which would involve residential villages and casinos,” Genuino told reporters. Phase III of the estimated $20-billion project would feature a hospital district, restaurants and commercial establishments.

According to him, it would take at least seven years to develop Pagcor City, which sits on 800 hectares of reclaimed land on Roxas Boulevard.

Once the franchise of Pagcor is renewed anytime soon, Genuino said they will enter into partnerships with various companies to forward the development of Pagcor City. The franchise of Pagcor is only good until 2008 but both chambers of Congress have reportedly approved the renewal and it is only awaiting the President’s ratification.

This early, he said, one of Europe’s biggest casino operators has already signified its plan to locate in the Pagcor City.

Pagcor, which ended 2006 with a gross income of P25.5 billion, operates 14 Casino Filipino branches, eight highly-exclusive Casino Filipino VIP clubs and three slot machine arcades in key cities.

Genuino has always touted the country’s big potential of becoming the Las Vegas of Asia, even beating the neighboring Macau, because “we have always at the radar screen of big-time investors from all over the world”.

“We have investors from all over Europe and Asia. With the Pagcor City, our goal is to generate as much as 250,000 jobs and also promote the tourism industry of the country,” he said.
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Old March 22nd, 2007, 02:43 AM   #16
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Vegas’ Wynn Resorts: Manila
can be prime gaming hub


By Max V. de Leon
Reporter

WYNN Resorts Ltd. of Las Vegas fame is keen on investing anywhere from $500 million to $1.5 billion for a hotel-resort with casino here, with one official saying the Philippines has the potential of overtaking Macau as a prime gaming destination in seven to 10 years.

Tim S. Shiah, who represented Wynn managing director Jack Binion at the ongoing Asia’s Gaming and Entertainment + Leisure Expo Manila (Asia’s GEM) 2007, said the company is already shopping around for prospective locations in the country for its investment.

Some of the areas being looked at, Shiah said, are Subic, Clark, Cebu, Boracay and the planned 800-hectare Pagcor (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.) Entertainment City at Manila’s reclamation area.

Shiah said Binion has been in the country at least three times and will make another trip here soon to check on the various opportunities for gaming cum total entertainment, especially after Congress approved the extension of Pagcor’s franchise for another 25 years.

“Mr. Binion’s a billionaire. He’s not coming here if he’s got nothing to do with his day,” Shiah told reporters at the sidelines of the Asia’s GEM 2007 at the Hyatt Hotel and Casino in Manila.

He, however, stressed that nothing is definite at this time.

A Wynn investment for a resort hotel with casino ranges from $500 million to $1.5 billion, he said.

The 600-room Wynn Macau, for instance, entailed $1.2 billion initially and now employs 7,500 personnel.

Shiah said the Philippines has the potential to overtake Macau in seven to 10 years, especially since the country already has the two important ingredients that other locations do not have—the quality personnel and natural attractions like beaches.

Because of this, Shiah said “many potential investors from Las Vegas are taking a hard look at the Philippines.”

“Macau is fortunate because they have China there and their players can bus over or take the ferry from Hong Kong, but Macau is going to have to get tough too when Singapore and the Philippines get going too,” he said.

In giving Macau a run for its money, Shiah said Manila can start having Las Vegas-type hotels and spice them up with the same quality gaming and complete entertainment.

With a total entertainment package, Shiah said the country can emulate Las Vegas, which earns earning 25 percent from gaming and 75 percent from entertainment.

Besides this, Shiah said the country should embrace investors through sound legislation, elimination of red tape and by ensuring that local government units work harmoniously with the investors they are hosting.

Shiah said Pagcor chairman and CEO Efraim Genuino, who he described as the “hardest-working gaming chairman” globally, is on the right track in attracting big investors and operators to promote the Philippines.

PCCI president Samie Lim, who also attended the event, said the Philippines could at least outpace Macau with the Pagcor Entertainment City and other attractions like the beaches, shopping malls, medical tourism spots, and golf, among others.

More important, Lim said the country has the “pleasant personnel” fit for the gaming industry.

“Based on experience, Macau is not really a pleasant experience because the people there are so business type. Filipinos, on the other hand, are always smiling so that even if you are losing, your experience will still be pleasant,” Lim said.

Macau, he said, attracted 22 million tourists in 2006 and it is unlikely that it will be having 40 million tourists in 10 years.

The Philippines, meanwhile, had over two million tourists in 2006 and this is projected to grow to 5 million by 2010 and then to 10 million in 10 years.

“So we can be the fastest-growing in the world,” Lim said.
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Old March 22nd, 2007, 10:13 AM   #17
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Pagcor E-City

This pic was posted earlier in the Metro Manila U/C VI thread by @wynngd

I actually saw the model of this project inside Casino Filipino near the Ninoy Aquino airport in Paranaque last May 2006. I couldn't take a pic because cameras were not allowed in the casino.

Just the model alone looked great! If you notice in the pic you can see a monorail system that winds its way around the entire project.

Its great to know they will actually start building this!!!

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Old March 22nd, 2007, 12:33 PM   #18
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lol it would be nice if they can actually come up with a better name than "Pagcor City"....geeeeeezz how long did they spend thinking about that name???
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Old March 22nd, 2007, 01:47 PM   #19
le Reine
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^oohh, I just love that plan. I think they would also build the new Nayong Pilipino in the same area?
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Old March 22nd, 2007, 02:39 PM   #20
Bosnyboy
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Ahh so no wonder i saw heavy equipment n men working in that area already. Theyre clearing the area and constructing interior roads. They also tore down part of the perimeter fences
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