During an SM Investments Corporation stockholder meeting, officials discussed a potential purchase of the Casino Filipino branches. Those casinos are under the stewardship of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR).
With PAGCOR’s plans for privatisation, those branches might be up for grabs. SMIC’s meeting involved the President and CEO of Premium Leisure Corp (PLC) Armin Antonio Santos. He said that they are interested in a bid to buy at least 40 branches of the Casino Filipino brand.
This is a big shift in the gambling industry because PLC is a subsidiary of Belle Corporation under the SMIC umbrella. They already have partnerships with Melco Resorts and Entertainment and City of Dreams, so adding these branches to that, further expands their reach and power.
PAGCOR wants to focus on regulation
While people want to look into mines gambling real money on online sites or games found at the Casino Filipino branches, PAGCOR is looking to sell and serve as a regulator. They will be there to approve the documents and permissions. That is why there have been talks of potential privatisation while also embarking on a sale.
PAGCOR Chairman Alejandro Tengco has considered that he can be in a regulatory role and possibly privatising the casinos. Tengco said, ‘We acknowledge our limitations on the side of enforcement and on our capacity to address illegal gambling, thus we reinforced our partnerships with various law enforcement agencies to address this concern’.
There are 41 branches which is a big deal because having them can mean that a large chunk of the casino space will belong to PLC and the SMIC group. PAGCOR also wants to expand game offerings beyond the Casino Filipino brand. The plans will be better off when there are already top-tier offerings with online gambling sites.
No concrete plans if all 41 branches are affected
There are no specific plans yet on whether or not they will bid on all 41 branches. The plan can also involve a partnership with Melco. Santos has said that they are looking for a way into the sweepstakes. It can take a long time for that to happen because the plans for a sale are not yet present. SM throwing its hat in the ring for the Casino Filipino brand shows they are serious with its plans.
Santos said, ‘If and when PAGCOR decides to privatise as mentioned by Chairman Al Tengco, we will look into the terms and conditions if we can participate. We’re looking at various investment opportunities in the gaming space. Within Entertainment City, if there are possible investments, why not? We’re also looking outside Metro Manila’.
SM wants to expand their gaming unit
Santos wants to know that the gaming sector will continue to grow. They are seeing the issues with Macau’s casino industry and they want to capitalise on boosting the Philippines’ gambling space. If they can get the Casino Filipino brand, they have a good foundation to do so.
SMIC got a provisional PAGCOR licence back in December 2008. They operate well within the shopping malls, supermarkets, and residential buildings but the gaming unit might be a huge win for the SMIC.
The SMIC has always wanted to make a breakthrough into the casino market and this is the biggest opportunity for it to do so. With the hype going around people playing online casino games such as mines gambling real money rewards, SMIC is just in time to start building the best casino experience in the country.