China Acknowledges Philippines Sovereignty over POGOs at Meeting

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President Duterte and Xi Jinping at their official bilateral Sino-Philippine meeting in 2019.
  • President Xi Jinping acknowledged the Philippines sovereignty over POGOs
  • Mr. Xi is pleased with the Philippines investigation into POGOs
  • China tries to dictate regional geopolitics by leveraging gambling activities

The Philippines Keeps Sovereignty over Pogos

The Philippines POGOs operators are finally getting some slack from the Chinese government. This is what Philippine Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez had to say, speaking to local media outlets after a meeting between president Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines and China’s President Xi Jinping.

Mr. Dominguez explained that the countries had reached an agreement, specifically insofar as the sovereignty of POGOs went. Based on Mr. Dominguez words, China is going to respect the sovereignty of the country.

The conflict flared up earlier when Beijing authorities suggested that POGOs, the Philippines offshore gaming operators, were targeting Chinese customers. Irked by the developments, China urged the Philippines to clamp down on these operators.

However, the country responded that it wouldn’t. Yet, China regards overseas gambling – bar in Macau – as a criminal activity that is punishable by law. Nevertheless, the Philippines are taking a tougher stance on POGOs.

For starters, the country will refrain from issuing immediate licenses to these operators moving forward. While President Xi seemed satisfied with the news, he still insisted that the Philippines should focus on a full-scale ban, Mr. Dominguez explained.

Everyone’s Happy, Nothing Specific Decided

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Philippines President, Salvador Panelo, President Duterte wasn’t actively seeking to engage his Chinese counterpart about POGOs. In other words, he steered clear of a diplomatic faux pas.

Responding shortly, President Duterte reportedly said that his government would be interested in conducting more tests before making up their mind about POGOs. A lot is at stake for the Philippines here. PAGCOR, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, which regulates offshore betting is raking in a tidy bit off these operations.

Estimated $51.5 million are being paid every half year, on average. This was the result for H1, 2019 in the very least. The recent developments are also a bit of a change of tact from what Jose Santa Romana, the Philippine ambassador in China, said last week.

Mr. Romana explained that it was ultimately his country’s sovereign decision whether POGOs would continue to operate, and under what specific terms. China has been quite busy trying to dictate regional gambling policies, not least because of its own stakes in Macau.

Gambling is shaping up as a potent tool for geopolitical influence, Fortune recently suggested. The article went into detail explaining that China could focus U.S. casino brands in Macau as a result of a cold-war in trade between the two global behemoths.

In a similar vein, Cambodia is seemingly scaling down its operations in a more significant way. The country’s Prime Minister, Hun Sen, has said that Cambodia would stop issuing gambling licenses as it led to immoral practices in the population. Specifically, Mr. Sen expressed concerns about organized crime rings taking advantage of indebted individuals.

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