Revenue for the Philippine gaming industry is expected to go back to -or even surpass- its pre-pandemic levels in 2026 as player confidence slowly returns to the sector, said Daniel Cecilio, licensing and regulatory chief of state-run regulator Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor).
As reported by Reuters, the senior regulatory official stated that, even though pandemic-related lockdowns are over, "bringing back the confidence of players is hard." That is why the market's full recovery is expected to arrive in 2026. GGR might reach PHP 256 billion ($4.6 billion) or better by that date, with land-based casinos contributing about PHP 146 billion ($2.6 billion).
The regulator's projections mirror the recovery path of neighboring gambling hubs such as Singapore and Macau, the latter reeling from Beijing's strict zero-COVID strategy.
Interior of Hann Casino Resort, one of Philippines' 51 land-based casinos
The freewheeling Philippine gaming industry has attracted foreign and domestic companies to set up integrated casino-resorts, creating tens of thousands of jobs in the past decade. There are 51 land-based casinos in the Philippines, including 38 operated by the gaming regulator and the rest privately owned, which attract high rollers from countries like China, Japan and South Korea.
Newport World Resorts, which owns the country's first integrated casino-resort, expects its operations to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2023, faster than the broader industry. Sandy Amida, senior director for gaming operations at Newport World Resorts in Manila, said: "We are expanding our gaming areas to absorb junket groups that are coming," Reuters reported.
When the pandemic hit and lockdowns started shutting down venues, 2020 revenue dropped more than 50% to around PHP 100 billion ($2.04 billion), down from a record PHP 256 billion ($4.60 billion) in 2019. However, revenue then picked up to PHP 113 billion in 2021 ($2.2 billion), marking a continuing growth trend.
Projections for the future of the industry also take into account Q1 2022 GGR results, which total around PHP 39 billion ($704.6 million), marking a 30% jump compared to the same period in 2021. Revenue in the coming years would be driven by pent-up demand and a return of confidence from both domestic and foreign gamblers.