Duterte Now Favors Gambling to Help Philippines Raise Money

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he now supports gambling after years of opposing it, citing the need to raise money amid the pandemic. Gaming stocks rose.

“Go ahead and gamble,” Duterte said, according to transcript released by his office late Wednesday. “Now that we need money, the most sensible thing is really just to encourage those activities.”

Duterte said casinos as well as online gaming operators catering mostly to Chinese clients should pay the correct taxes. In 2018, he ordered a review of a lease contract for a $1.5 billion casino that was not built and in 2019 halted lotteries run by the government’s sweepstakes office.

Gaming stocks rose Thursday after Duterte’s comments, bucking the Philippine benchmark stock index’s decline. Bloomberry Resorts Corp., which owns Solaire Resort & Casino, rose 6.5%. Online gambling company PhilWeb Corp. rose 7.5%, while casino operator Leisure & Resorts World Corp. snapped a two-day fall to close 5.7% higher.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.