Andrea Domingo, the CEO and chairperson of the Philippine Amusement & Gaming Corp. dwells on what it is like to be the head of PAGCOR, as well as on the company’s main aims and tasks.
What is the best thing about being the head of PAGCOR?
The best thing is that you know you provide employment for more than eleven thousand people and you are able to help. Generally it’s much-needed revenues for socio-civic projects. And you have a president who really reports to you where he put the money. Before we release any new trend for the socio-civic fund, the first one has to be liquidated.
What are you learning from this job now?
Very lot of wise things that you could get from it. One is that you are just an ordinary person like the other eleven thousand. And if you act so, but still maintain your position and stance and firm leadership, then you get the job done very well. There are also a lot of intrigues, which surely stress you out, people who hit you in the back. But now you say – I’m seventy, who cares?
Concerning illegal online gaming, could you tell us about the responsibility of PAGCOR in this regard?
Before we started fighting with it we were known as the illegal capital of the world, and that was really very bad. But when we started giving it a face, giving a program, giving assurances, fair play and all of that regulation, we have recovered from that image.
President Duterte in August 2018 said: “I hate gambling. I don’t want it. There will be no casinos outside what are existing now. I am not granting anything. As long as it is gambling I don’t want that”. Isn’t this statement an indictment against casino operations?
No, because what he says is about future casinos. The existing casinos – ok, we support. There are new applications, but we are no longer processing them because of the ban. So, we tell them that they need to get an exception from the ban, from the president. I’ve actually submitted a proposal now. In total, banning areas away from the international travel access, away from airports and seaports. Our President is a thinking man, he is a lawyer, so he knows when to stop and he knows also when to begin.
Regarding money laundering and profits?
Reports on suspicious transactions, it is by law. And we immediately implement the law. In fact, I am happy that I am modestly meeting our targets, which is a very fast time, in just about a year or less. Concerning revenues, in 2018 it was P104.1 Billion and P32 billion was profit from sale of land.
It there such a thing as responsible gaming?
PAGCOR has a special program on responsible gaming. When the signs of problem gambling are identified, these players are talked to, advised to stop, and then told to go home and rest. We have a network of clinics and centers and also helplines so that they can get proper counseling. We realize the harm of gaming.
As mentioned earlier, the Philippines ' Department of Finance is planning to privatize PAGCOR gambling establishments.
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