China is desperate to have online gambling completely banned in the region. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is resolute that there cannot be a blanket ban on all offshore online gambling operations in the country.
However, amidst all this, offshore online gambling operators known as POGOs in the Philippines are being purged. These offshore online gambling centers are also linked with increased casino and gambling-related crimes in the country. As such, there have been demands from within the Philippines to check the growth of Pogos.
But the market suggests otherwise. Pogos are not going anywhere. They are there to stay and grow both in size and numbers. According to experts, the POGOs will continue to trigger the demand for office space in Makati.
In an interview with the Business World, Monique Cornelio-Pronove, chief executive officer of Pronove Tai International Property Consultants said that the “limited office supply next year accepting POGOs, the offshore gaming sector is still expected to drive office demand but on a slower phase compared to 2019.”
While she admits that the regulatory purging and initiatives to control the growth of Pogos will be a blocker but the industry will still continue to grow. The real estate consultant also said that the country’s gambling regulator, the PAGCOR’s decision to not issue a license to new Pogo establishments is also not the biggest factor contributing to the slow growth rate in the country’s offshore online gambling industry.
“The main factor of POGOs growth in the office market will always be grounded in the ‘office supply.’ POGO sector is expected to slow down next year because of the limited available supply in the Bay Area,” she said.
The government has launched massive drives to clean up Pogos that also happen to employ a big number of Chinese nationals. However, a significant majority of the workers employed in the offshore online gambling industry are working illegally.
Recently, the police have arrested over 400 people associated with POGOs, mostly Chinese nationals working illegally.