Following the recent arrests of Chinese and foreign nationals reportedly involved in illegal online gaming, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) released a statement clarifying that illegal online gaming activities should not be associated with legitimate Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOs).
The statement came after a series of arrests involving Chinese and other foreign nationals who were found to have been working for unlicensed, offshore gaming companies. “The agency emphasizes that any individual, group or entity which conducts online gambling without approval to operate from PAGCOR should not be categorized as POGO,” it said on Wednesday.
PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Alejandro Tengco said that POGO operations are strictly being monitored by the agency, further asserting that “any gaming entity that fails to pass the application process for an offshore gaming license and to fulfill the documentary and financial requirements, among others, cannot be labeled as legal offshore gaming operators of POGO.”
40 FOREIGN NATIONALS IN ANGELES CITY RESCUED DURING ILLEGAL POGO RAID.https://t.co/hn7r6KMv4m pic.twitter.com/CfsD9b1Ner
— PAGCOR (@pagcorph) September 19, 2022 Tengco added that PAGCOR is in close coordination with various agencies such as the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Justice (DOJ), Philippine National Police (PNP), and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to weed out illegal gaming operations in the country, and put an end to the recent incidents of kidnapping and human trafficking associated with illegal gambling.
PAGCOR currently has 34 approved POGO operators, 127 accredited service providers, and 5 special classes of BPOs which underwent probity checks. Personnel of Customer Relations Service Providers, Gaming Software Platform Providers, and Live Studio and Streaming Providers were required to secure offshore gaming employment licenses and are now ordered to obtain police clearances.
PAGCOR and four other agencies intensify efforts to address illegal POGO-related crimes.https://t.co/TAAMkoL7mG pic.twitter.com/9XDs6AT2At
— PAGCOR (@pagcorph) September 19, 2022 Illegal offshore gaming operators, unearthed through the recent rescue operations of its workers, have recently been the center of heated discussions among groups and lawmakers, prompting talks on possibly banning POGOs in the country.
Earlier this month, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva filed a bill that intends to ban all forms of online gambling in the country. Villanueva’s Senate Bill 1281, the proposed “Anti-Online Gambling Act”, seeks to penalize people who engage in online gambling with a jail term of up to six months and a fine of up to PHP 500,000 ($8711).
But according to property analyst Leechiu Property Consultants, the Philippine economy could lose about P200 billion ($ 3,40 billion) annually if the local online gaming industry players are shut down, reports Inquirer.net.