Online gaming

PAGCOR says illegal online gambling activities in the Philippines are not associated with POGOs

Following recent arrests of Chinese and foreign nationals allegedly involved in illegal online gambling, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has issued a statement clarifying that illegal online gambling activities should not be associated with legitimate Philippine Offshore Gambling (POGO) operations.

The statement came after a series of arrests involving Chinese and other foreign nationals who worked for unlicensed offshore gambling companies. “The agency emphasizes that any individual, group or entity that conducts online gambling without authorization to operate from PAGCOR should not be categorized as POGO,” he said Wednesday.

President and CEO of PAGCOR Alejandro Tengco stated that POGO’s operations are strictly monitored by the agency, further stating that “any gaming entity that fails to successfully complete the application process for an offshore gaming license and fails to meet the documentary and financial requirements, among others, cannot qualify as POGO’s legal offshore gaming operators.”

Tengco added that PAGCOR is in close coordination with various agencies such as Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Justice (DOJ), Philippine National Police (PNP) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) eliminate illegal gambling operations in the country, and put an end to recent incidents of kidnapping and human trafficking associated with illegal gambling.

PAGCOR currently has 34 licensed POGO operators, 127 accredited service providers and 5 special classes of BPOs that have undergone probity checks. Staff from customer relations service providers, gaming software platform vendors and live and streaming studio providers were required to obtain offshore gaming employment licenses and are now required to obtain police clearances .

Illegal offshore gambling operators, brought to light through recent rescues of its workers, have recently been at the center of heated discussions between groups and lawmakers, prompting talks on the possible banning of POGOs in the country.

Earlier this month, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva introduced a bill to ban all forms of online gambling in the country.. Villanueva’s Senate Bill 1281, the “Anti-Online Gambling Law,” seeks to penalize those who engage in online gambling with up to six months in jail and up to a fine of up to six months. at PHP500,000 ($8711).

But according to real estate analyst Leechiu Property Consultantsthe The Philippine economy could lose around 200 billion pesos ($3.40 billion) a year whether local players in the online gambling industry are closed, reports