SM 'interested' in Casino Filipino if PAGCOR privatizes

Jekki Pascual, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 26 2023 07:14 PM

MANILA - A subsidiary of SM Investments Corporation is eyeing Casino Filipino branches if the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp pushes through with privatization plans.

During the SMIC Annual Stockholders' Meeting in Pasay, Premium Leisure Corp. President & CEO Armin Antonio Santos said they are interested to join the bidding if the government decides to go ahead with plans to sell around 40 Casino Filipino branches.

Premium Leisure Corp. is a subsidiary of Belle Corporation under SMIC. It has a partnership with Melco Resorts and Entertainment with City of Dreams.

Pagcor Chairman Alejandro Tengco earlier said they were considering focusing on its regulatory role and possibly privatizing their casinos across the country.

"If and when Pagcor decides to privatize as mentioned by Chairman Al Tengco, we will look into the terms and conditions if we can participate," said Santos.

He clarified, there are no specific plans yet if they will bid on all 41 branches or just a few. Santos said the plan may also be with or without a partnership with Melco.

Other than the possible Pagcor deal, SM's gaming unit is also eyeing new gaming projects around the country.

"We're looking at various investment opportunities in the gaming space." He added, "Within Entertainment City, if there are possible investments, why not? we're also looking outside Metro Manila."

Santos said he remains bullish on the gaming sector. Though there are challenges like the lack of foreign tourists compared to pre-pandemic and the slow reopening of Macau. But he says there is a strong domestic market for casinos.



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