Category Archives: Casino

PAGCOR 2017 gaming revenue close to $1.19B


Gross revenue of state-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) grew by 7 percent in 2017 on the back of a strong performance by the casino sector.

PAGCOR 2017 gaming revenue close to $1.19BPAGCOR chair Andrea Domingo announced that the state regulator pocketed “close to PHP60 billion (US$1.19 billion)” in 2017, which was slightly below the target. Nevertheless, last year’s sum was higher than the PHP55.06 billion ($1.09 billion) PAGCOR posted in 2016.

The chunk of PAGCOR’s 2017 gaming revenue came from its 46 casino properties, which raked in PHP22.44 billion ($444.6 million). PAGCOR-licensed casino fees contributed another PHP19.27 billion ($382.5 million).

Traditional bingo and e-bingo licensees gave PAGCOR PHP9.45 billion ($187.58 million), while the state regulator’s share from other gaming licensees such as e-games, poker, junket operations was at PHP5.50 billion ($109.17 million).

Internationally licensed online gambling operators contributed PHP3.14 billion ($62.32 million).

“Although the biggest chunk in the agency’s revenues still comes from PAGCOR-operated casinos, the licensed casinos also contributed significantly,” Domingo told CalvinAyre.com in an e-mail.

On Thursday, PAGCOR held a celebratory cocktails and dinner soirée for its licensees and paid tribute to their social and economic contributions to the country. Among those who graced the occasion were Filipino casino mogul Enrique Razon and neophyte casino operator Dennis Uy, whose company plans to build a $341 million casino on the island of Cebu.

The Philippine News Agency reported that President Rodrigo Duterte reminded the operators in attendance that they may expand their business in the country as long as they shun graft and corruption.

Acknowledging that corruption remains a perennial problem in the country, Duterte encouraged gambling operators to report all cases of corruption directly to him, to his officials, or through the Citizens’ Complaint Hotline.

“Please do not give them [government officials] the luxury of extortion. All you have to do is just you can call anybody in government… And I will take care of it,” he said, according to the news outlet. “All I have to do is for you to cooperate and I said do not give in to extortionist. Be it the police, the BIR, Customs. If I learn that you engage in corruption, I’ll make it hard for you.”

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VIP, premium mass drive Macau’s gaming revenue up 23% in November


November marks the 16th consecutive month of growth for the world’s gambling hub of Macau.

VIP, premium mass drive Macau’s gaming revenue up 23% in NovemberCasino gross gaming revenue (GGR) in the city state grew 22.6 percent year-on-year in November to reach MOP23 billion (US$2.9 billion), according to data released by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ). The November GGR result beat analysts’ growth estimates of 19 percent.

The latest figures brings Macau’s market tally for the first 11 months of 2017 to MOP243.04 billion, up 19.5 percent compared to the same period last year, government data showed. The 11-month total has also surpassed the MOP223.2 billion GGR that the city state’s casinos recorded for the full 2016.

High end visitors—VIPs and premium mass—are driving Macau’s growth, according to analysts who have observed “higher quality visitors replacing lower quality visitors” in the gambling hub.

“Based on our recent on-the-ground conversations with those in the VIP space we believe that VIP could likely be a 20%+ grower in 2018. With mass likely to be a 10%+ grower in 2018, the market is shaping up to see mid-teens growth next year,” Union Gaming analyst Grant Govertsen said in a note.

Cheap, but high quality rooms are helping bring “better quality gaming customers” to Macau, even though the city state itself isn’t “materially busier” in the tourist areas, according to the analyst.

“Ultimately, having a greater number of hotel rooms available to marketing teams that can then be allocated to high quality players is a significant factor in the broader swapping of lower quality customers for higher quality customers,” said Govertsen.

December is expected to bring even better number for the gambling enclave. Aside from historically being a seasonally stronger month than November, this year’s December also comes with one additional Sunday. Because of this, Union Gaming analysts forecast 23 percent growth for the month, bringing the GGR to upwards of 20 percent for the full year.

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Connecticut, two tribes go to war vs. fed gov’t over casino delay


zinke-sued-connecticut-gaming-tribes-casinoConnecticut’s two gaming tribes have joined the state in suing the federal government over delays in approving a new casino project.

On Wednesday, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced the filing of a lawsuit in US District Court in Washington, DC against the US Department of Interior and Secretary Ryan Zinke (pictured).

The suit is intended to give a swift kick to the backside of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), which has been slow-rolling approval of the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes’ joint venture casino project in East Windsor.

At issue is whether the new casino would violate the tribes’ existing gaming compacts with the state, which guarantee the tribes’ slot exclusivity and prohibit the authorization of any new commercial casino project.

With the backing of the tribes, who individually operate the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos, the state approved legislation this summer to amend the compacts and approve the new casino, which is to be built off tribal land near the state’s border with Massachusetts. However, the legislation was conditional on receiving the BIA’s approval of the amended compacts.

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) requires the BIA to either approve or disapprove the amended compacts within 45 days but Zinke has so far refused to issue a final ruling. In September, a BIA official said the bureau saw no reason to weigh in on a commercial casino project. The state’s lawsuit asks the court to order Zinke to publish a notice of approval of the amended compacts.

The tribes, who have argued that the BIA’s inability to reach a decision is a variation on ‘silence = consent,’ announced earlier this month that they planned to commence construction on the project by the end of the year.

The new casino is intended as a hedge to keep Connecticut gamblers from flocking across the border to MGM Springfield, the flashy $960m MGM Resorts property that will open in Massachusetts next September.

MGM has fought against approval of the new tribal casino and MGM legal counsel Uri Clinton told Hartford Business that the tribes were mistaken regarding Zinke having violated IGRA’s edicts.

According to Clinton, Zinke’s inaction maintains the status quo, and “approving a new, third casino is the opposite of maintaining the status quo … No lawsuit, not even one backed by the governor, changes those basic facts.”

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Bloomberry set for record year as mass market buoys Solaire’s Q3


bloomberry-resorts-solaire-casino-razonPhilippine casino operator Bloomberry Resorts Corp reported Q3 profits rising nearly one-third based on a thriving mass market business at its flagship Manila integrated resort.

On Thursday, Bloomberry released its Q3 earnings report, which showed revenue of P9.6b (US $187.2m) in the three months ending September 30, a 22.3% rise over the same period last year. Earnings were up 33% to P3.4b, while net profits rose 31% to P1.85b.

Business was booming at Bloomberry’s Solare Resort & Casino in Manila’s Entertainment City gaming district. Mass table drop was up 22% year-on-year to P9.7b, a new quarterly record, while mass electronic gaming machine (EGM) coin-in shot up 38% to P49.7b, also a record.

Solaire’s VIP gaming turnover declined 13% but VIP revenue improved 14% to P5.4b based on Q3 2016 having endured a pitifully low 2.16% VIP win rate, which rebounded to 2.83% in the most recent quarter. And while turnover and revenue were both down from Q2, the VIP turnover figure still ranked third-best since Solaire opened in 2013.

Jeju Sun Hotel & Casino, Bloomberry’s South Korean property, reported its first ever positive quarterly earnings since Bloomberry acquired the property in 2015. Jeju Sun’s gross gaming revenue was up a whopping 436% to P151m, as the property was wholly preoccupied last year with its ultimately aborted sale to a Macau junket operator.

Bloomberry boss Enrique Razon Jr. (pictured) hailed his company’s ongoing growth and held out hope that this “uptrend” would persist through the remainder of 2017. “Our top line and bottom lines are positive and, despite some minor hiccups, I am confident that 2017 will be a banner year.”

Year-to-date figures are rosy indeed, with revenue up 28% to P28b, earnings up 30% to P10.2b and profits jumping 275% to just under P6b.

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Brazil police raid Winfil casino for offering real-money gambling


brazil-police-raid-winfil-casinoA Brazilian brick-and-mortar casino operator’s impetuousness has brought down the long arm of the law.

Last week, Grupo Pefaco opened its Winfil casino in Porto Alegre, but its 460 slot machines were restricted to ‘demonstration’ mode, i.e. free-play gambling only, due to Brazil having yet to explicitly authorize real-money casino gambling.

But Saturday saw the casino commence real-money gambling based on a court injunction barring local law enforcement from seizing any of Winfil’s gaming machines. However, the judge who issued that injunction told local media on Monday that her injunction applied only if the machines were still in demonstration mode and had offered no comment regarding the illegality of casino gambling.

As one might expect, the authorities didn’t tolerate Winfil’s boldness for long. Brazilian affiliate Games Magazine Brasil reported that officers from the Civil Police and the state Prosecutor’s Office rolled up in “dozens” of vehicles to disrupt the goings-on, much to the dismay of the casino’s patrons, who chanted ‘we just want to play.’ (See video at bottom of page, which includes said chanting as well as the furious but ultimately futile arguments of Winfil’s lawyers.)

The authorities reportedly took no chances of clashing with the injunction barring them from seizing gaming machines by producing warrants referencing “objects directly related to the exploitation of games of chance.”

In practice, this meant the cops left the machines where they stood but seized the money inside the machines as well as their controller boards, effectively leaving Winfil with row after row of mute cabinets and monitors.

Winfil executives were reportedly detained and taken to the local booking facility where they were required to sign documents acknowledging their wicked, wicked ways.

Brazil is currently in the process of approving sweeping gambling reforms, which will reportedly include the authorization of multiple casinos across the country. There are two competing gaming bills in each house of the bicameral legislature, and the Chamber of Deputies has promised to bring its version to the floor for a vote in November.