PAGCOR helps victims of Typhoon Noru

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Posted: October 18, 2022, 10:39 a.m.

Last update on: October 18, 2022, 11:06 a.m.

Just under a month ago, Typhoon Noru, or Super Typhoon Karding for those in the Philippines, destroyed parts of Asia. As part of its commitment to serving the community, the Philippine gaming industry has stepped up to help the hardest hit regions.

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A tattered Philippine flag flies above a flooded city hit by Typhoon Noru. Gaming regulator PAGCOR and casino operators continue to provide needed assistance to cities across the country. (Image: Associated Press)

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and casino licensees have been busy since the typhoon struck on September 21. They regularly delivered food and other aid to different parts of the country to help with the recovery process.

Since the first shipment, the gambling industry has delivered 17,500 “relief packs”, according to the regulator and the casino operator. In total, he spent about $10 million to help communities rebuild.

Widespread destruction

The National Council for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management reported that at least 38 people died and five are still missing in the northern Philippines after Typhoon Noru struck. It left thousands of people in evacuation centers and caused severe damage to infrastructure and agriculture.

The National Emergency Council of the Philippines has reported deaths in the provinces of Rizal, Zambales, Quezon and Bulacan, all located on the island of Luzon. This is where Noru made landfall on September 26 as a “super typhoon”. It arrived with sustained winds of up to 250 kilometers per hour (154 MPH), according to the Philippine Meteorological Service.

Since then, PAGCOR and its licensees have been busy supporting various communities. By the end of September, they had distributed around 1,500 relief kits to several areas hardest hit by the typhoon.

After two more weeks, the gaming industry has redoubled its efforts. In addition to PAGCOR, the Widus Hotel and Casino Clark and the Stotsenberg Foundation, the charitable arm of the Stotsenberg Leisure Park and Hotel Corporation, participated, according to the regulator.

Additionally, the Royce Hotel and Casino Foundation, Travelers International Hotel Group and others participated.

PAGCOR Breakup Discussions Continue

PAGCOR has overseen the Philippines’ gaming ecosystem for years, even as it simultaneously ran its own casinos. For almost as long, there has been talk of splitting the company into two separate entities. The idea is to privatize the operations of the casino.

This is because some see it as a conflict of interest. However, PAGCOR has repeatedly shown that it can handle both sides. It generates considerable revenue for the state and communities while ensuring the operation of casinos.

In the first half of this year, PAGCOR made a net income of around PHP 2.16 billion ($38.3 million). That’s a 2,600% increase over last year. At that time, land-based casinos were closed due to COVID-19.

Still, some in the government think PAGCOR should shut down its casino business. The push continued this week when the Philippines Governance Commission for Government-Owned or Government-Controlled Corporations renewed its call.

The Manila Bulletin reported that the chairman of the commission, Alex L. Quiroz, reiterated the position of the entity, which it has held since 2018. The final decision rests with Ferdinand Marcos, the country’s new president.

There is no word on what Marcos can do. He implemented reforms within PAGCOR two months ago, which could indicate that he is in no rush to break the entity in two.

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