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Philippines Generated Record Gaming Revenue In 2018

Despite Increased Competition In The Region, Operators Expect A Record-Breaking 2019

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When it comes to gambling in Asia, Macau is the mecca. The Philippines, however, is quickly putting a dent in Macau’s total market share, which generated a massive $37.6 billion in gaming revenue in 2018.

Last year, the nation made up of several thousand islands generated record gaming revenue. The country saw its 67 casinos pull in 200 billion pesos in 2018 ($3.8 billion), which was about a 13 percent increase from 2017.

This year, operators in the country are projecting another increase. In 2019, they expect to generate about 217 billion pesos ($4.1 billion), despite gambling markets opening up in neighboring countries such as Japan, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

“The operators are threatened [by growing competition],” Andrea Domingo, the chairman of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp told Reuters. “However, if you have critical mass and a safe environment, gamblers will still be there.”

In 2016, the WPT partnered with Triton Poker and had the largest buy-in in the history of the tour at the Solaire Casino in the capital city of Manila. The $200,000 Triton Super High Roller Cali Cup drew 52 entries and was won by Fedor Holz for over $3.4 million. The event continued over the next few years without the help of the WPT.

In the year leading up to the event, it was rumored that Macau’s infamous nosebleed-stakes games with Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan were moving to Manila. Some of the wealthy Chinese businessmen that were playing in the game were having problems moving money to and from the peninsula thanks to the Chinese government’s crackdown on corruption.

Paul Phua, one of the more well-known businessmen in the game, was allegedly under scrutiny from local authorities for moving large amounts of money to and from the game. He previously had issues with the U.S. government over illegal gambling charges before a federal judge dismissed the case.

While the market is growing, President Rodrigo Duterte is not a fan of gambling and has stated that there will be no new casinos under his regime.