The offshore online gambling is crucial to Philippines economy and that’s precisely why President Rodrigo Duterte didn’t even think twice before openly rejecting China’s call to ban online gambling.
However, the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOS) have been controversial and there are voices in the Philippines’ power corridors that resonate with China’s implied suggestions.
Recently, Philippine Senator Leila De Lima called for a ban on offshore online gambling urging President Rodrigo Duterte to accept the suggestion of Chinese president Xi Jinping.
“Mr. Duterte should heed these serious concerns that affect his people. He should order an immediate ban on online gambling in the country that causes more harm than good and stops looking at it from an economic or investment perspective,” she said.
According to the latest from the country’s Labor Department, there are about 14,000 foreign workers employed by the thriving offshore online gambling industry in the South-east Asian country.
Dominique Tutay, Director of the Bureau of Local Employment, said that during the first six months of 2019 there were 51,000 Alien Employment Permits issued to POGO workers. However, following the inspection of 177 POGO operators, it was found that there are about 8000 foreign workers serving illegally. Moreover, 6000 fail to comply with the Bureau of Immigration.
China has lauded Cambodia’s move to ban online gambling. In mid-August, Cambodia imposed a blanket ban on online gambling in the country triggering a mass exodus of Chinese nationals.