The gambling regulators in the Philippines have come to all guns blazing at offshore online gambling operators (POGOs) ever since China called for a complete ban on online gambling in the region. Though the Philippines ultimately rejected China’s demands, it has been tightening the noose around offshore online gambling operations in the country.
On Sunday, Makati City Mayor Abby Binay said that they would no longer be issuing permits to Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogos).
The Mania Inquirer quotes Binay: “We would no longer accept new applications for Pogo service providers, and crack down hard against illegal activities that are catering to Pogos and their employees within Makati.”
Pogos have been extensively linked with an increase in crime, prostitution, and kidnappings. The city is also planning to shut doors to all offshore gaming operators as officials claim that it has created a local real estate bubble that could burst anytime soon.
While the city hosts about 300 Pogo service providers employing thousands of workers, of which most are Chinese nationals, the country’s gambling regulator PAGCOR says that it has only 200 registered online gambling operators.
Tough On Offshore Online Gambling
The government in the Philippines got tough on online gambling operations in the country, especially after China called to ban all forms of online gambling in the region.
Last month, a House committee approved a bill to impose a 5% tax on the annual gross income of Pogos. In her Keynote speech at the Philippines Manila Global Gaming Expo PAGCOR chief Andrea Domingo said that with the new policies in place, by 2020 they will have addressed 95% if not 97% of POGO including the dark side – prostitution, kidnapping, financing.
Moreover, an infrastructure think-tank in the country recently called for detailed cybersecurity and money-laundering audit of all offshore online gambling operations.
One of the major reasons why the general consensus in the country is against POGOs is that POGOs are often associated with gambling-related crimes including kidnappings, loan Sarking, and also prostitution.
Even when President Duterte rejected China’s call demanding a ban on all online gambling operations in the Philippines, he met with similar demands at home.
Citing increased crime Senator De Lima also demanded a blanket ban on all offshore online gambling operations. She believes that POGOs do more harm than good and therefore should be banned.