MANILA, Apr 10 (Mabuhay) — The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) said there is nothing anomalous in investing on a slot machine system (SMS) since it would actually prop up the country’s coffers by upgrading operational efficiency.
Pagcor said it will only spend P516.6 million or US$12.6 million for the system, contrary to allegations from Agham Party-list Rep. Angelo Palmones that it will cost P1.8 billion.
In a statement, Pagcor also denied the allegations of Palmones that the paper-based ticket-in/ticket-out (TITO) technology used in the machines is “very disadvantageous to the environment and very disadvantageous too to Pagcor’s coffers as you are purchasing something that is no longer needed and in fact out of technology.”
The gaming firm said the system is anchored on best practices abroad. “In the Philippines, all of Pagcor’s licensees including the newly opened Solaire Resort and Casino already have a slot machine system. In the United States, about 90% of the casinos use the TITO-based redemption system.”
It said procurement of the system underwent public bidding. In fact, Pagcor still proceeded with a third public bidding even if two failed biddings meant it could already enter into a negotiated procurement method under the laws.
It explained that the system will connect 5,083 machines installed in 18 different casinos/arcades nationwide. The whole system incorporates audit, internal controls, financial accounting and monitoring, patron management, and marketing modules.
The TITO component is just one part of the SMS, it said.
“As a whole, the SMS will minimize errors, generate reliable player information on a real time basis, provide greater operational efficiency and enhance the gaming experience of our customers,” Pagcor said.
There is also no truth to the allegation that the system is “detrimental” to the environment, it said.
“The current manual system employed by PAGCOR uses a lot of paper. By migrating to the TITO-based system, we are actually reducing paper consumption. We no longer have to do manual transactions that require voluminous paper supplies for receipts, accounting and income reports, comps receipts, etc.,” it said.
Nonetheless, Pagcor has not yet bought a single paper/ticket for the recently procured slot machine system since it has not yet been installed in the casino network.
It said Palmones grossly overstated the cost of the papers that will be used. “The US$ 0.20 or P8.00 SMS/TITO ticket cost quoted in the news reports is grossly overstated since the paper to be used for the said system is only at P0.67 centavos (in Philippine peso) per ticket based on the canvass provided by suppliers to Pagcor.”
It also noted ten tickets will only be utilized per slot machine per day at 70% capacity.
“This means that once the 5,083 machines have been connected to the SMS, we will be using 35,581 tickets a day nationwide which would only cost Pagcor P23,839.00 daily or about P8.7 million a year,” the firm said.
There is also no truth it will spend another P147 million for the ticket printers as alleged by Palmones. It said the printing is already built into the SMS. (MNS)