COA slams PAGCOR for failed investments; City of Dreams Manila grand opening on February 2?

Philippines Commission of Audit have criticized the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) for investing in non-core assets and failed slot machine venture.

PAGCOR paid Php262.6 million to buy 66 condominium units from AMVEL Land Development Corp. In 2013, out of 66 units 54 remain unsold, leaving the the gaming agency with Php218.1 million unrealized profit.

All units were meant to be sold as “decent and affordable housing facilities” to PAGCOR officials assigned to the Casino Filipino office in Parañaque City. However, five years after the acquisition, PAGCOR has so far struggled to sell these units, leaving the company with “idle funds that could have been used for activities more beneficial in the attainment of PAGCOR’s objectives/goals.”

COA also found out that PAGCOR incurred unnecessary expenses that the developer should have paid, specifically Php2.5 million in transfer tax and registration fees for the 66 unit.

“Apparently, there was inadequate planning prior to the purchase of the units,” the report added.

The gaming agency said that “a few [staff] qualify in terms of capacity to pay the amortizations” but efforts to sell the condominiums were being pursued. PAGCOR has taken legal steps to address the issues pertaining to the transfer tax and registration fees.

Then there’s the issue of the Plaza Del Norte Slot Machine Arcade in Laoag City in the province of Ilocos Norte, almost 500 kilometers north of Manila. According to the report, PAGCOR failed to meet its projected winnings amounting to Php2.88 million per month or Php34.56 million per year since it opened on January 2, 2013.

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