October 10, 2022 3 min read


Estimated 48,000 ex-POGO Workers to Return Home

The fate of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators’ workers continues to make media headlines in the country. According to the Philippine News Agency, an estimated 48,000 foreign workers have left or are expected to be deported following a widespread crackdown against their mostly former employers.

PAGCOR Continues to Hammer Unregulated Pogos

The Philippines began a large-scale operation against unlicensed POGOs, with authorities reporting the shutdown of illegal operators. PAGCOR, the national regulator, insisted that it was a matter of closing black market websites and that this was not related to POGOs as such.

Operators with invalid licenses could not be categorized as POGOs in the first place. However, the number of POGO operators has decreased rapidly since 2019, down to 34 today out of 63 in the past. This is due both to the tougher law enforcement major as well as the pandemic.

A spokesperson for the Bureau of Immigration, Dana Sandoval, told the Philippine News Agency that immigration officers were getting closer to providing more detailed numbers as to how many people have left and why. Sandoval confirmed that any workers who had been part of the unregulated POGO market would have their visas canceled in the wake of the operators’ shutdowns.  

Sandoval explained that there were both economic as well as humanitarian reasons behind the decision to transport workers at those operators back to their country of origin. The total number of 48,000 workers has once floated already a few weeks ago. Shutdowns have been commonplace over the past month or so with authorities truly stepping up their game.

POGOs have also been a source of regional geopolitical strain with the Philippines facing more difficult times in its diplomacy with China, which has insisted on the shuttering of unregulated operators which, the country argued, exploited its citizens and often led to modern slavery and exploitation.

Shutdowns Despite Strong Economic Value

The recent ream of measures and action undertaken by Philippine authorities, though, is a strong signal that the country is determined to crack down on unregulated gambling. While POGOs has been operating in relative freedom over the past years, a new government in Manila is now looking to show as a hardliner on illegal gambling and the crime that emanates from it.

Former Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte canceled e-sabong despite the good economic value it was adding, citing a strong increase in criminal activity and kidnappings related directly to the gambling activity around it. Now, authorities are determined to clean up POGOs as well.


Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at GamblingNews.com is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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