New casinos to boost PH gaming industry - S&P

by Kathleen A. Martin, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Nov 13 2012 02:13 PM | Updated as of Nov 14 2012 02:35 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The country's gaming industry is foreseen to grow at a "strong pace" in the next few years with the opening of new casinos, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said.

In a report, S&P noted the gaming sector will help drive Philippine the economy and boost tourism.

"It (gaming industry) should continue to grow at a strong pace over the next few years as operators provide more product offerings and disposable incomes rise," S&P said. 

The credit rater noted the Philippine gaming industry was the fastest-growing in the Asia-Pacific region after Macau and Singapore last year, as Manila's spot in the center of the region is "well-located" to attract overseas gamblers.

The opening of various gaming complex and resorts in Pagcor's Entertainment City in Parañaque City over the next few years will provide a boost to the industry and this will "help to drive the economy and tourism," S&P said.

S&P also noted the country's relatively low gaming tax rates and a huge low-cost labor force that will aid the growth of the gaming industry.

Moreover, the robust growth of remittances from overseas Filipinos may lead to higher disposable incomes for receiving families, some of which may be spent on casinos.

S&P sees the gaming regulator as a key risk factor for the growth of the industry as Pagcor is also an operator itself.

The credit rater also noted competition may intensify as the new gaming resorts start operations between this year to 2015.

Four firms were awarded concessions to operate casino resorts in Pagcor's Entertainment City: SM Group's Belle Corp., port magnate Enrique Razon's Bloomberry Resorts and Hotel, Universal Entertainment, and Travellers.