Tuesday May 31,2016 : ONLINE BETTING COULD BE MACAUS SALVATION
Philippines gaming expert suggests the way forward.
Macaus falling gambling revenues in recent years have been a major cause for concern regarding the future of the Chinese gambling island, but one gaming expert believes properly regulated and licensed online gambling could assist land casino operators to weather the storm.
Chris Tio has wide experience in the field and was at one time development head for DFNN, Inc. – a publicly listed Philippines I.T. company with multiple online gaming licences, and former marketing and VIP services chief at the Philippine gaming regulatory agency PAGCOR.
In an interview with Macaus Business Daily newspaper this week Tio said that online gambling is an interesting possibility because it contributes a significant percentage of revenues to regulators, as has been proved in the Philippines where server based games are streamed into physical locations.
The Philippines is also home to legal online sports bookmakers, online casinos and bingo, with domestic websites licensed by the government-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), and Special Economic Zone Cagayan, where licensed online betting operators can target other Asian markets.
Tio considers that regulation is essential and it has helped the sector succeed in the Philippines, with the country seeing total gross gaming revenue exceeding US$2.3 billion (MOP18.39 billion) in 2015.
The gaming expert said that regulation not only protects consumers and provides tax revenues, but that it encourages investors to support online gambling projects that are protected against unlicensed competition.
He said he believes better investment guidelines and openness to online gaming will contribute to gaming coffers, with great investment opportunities because “sports betting is growing significantly, with a dramatic growth to be made in virtual sports” and with many “e-casino products showing dramatic innovation”.
Tio said that the new political leadership in the Philippines appears to be pragmatic and that it is unlikely that the online gambling sector will be adversely impacted. However, he believes that greater transparency can be achieved in the Philippines by separating Pagcors regulator and operator functions, something that would require Congressional authority.