PAGCOR Intensifies Crackdown on Illegal Online Gambling

Over the weekend, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) announced that is ramping up its efforts to crack down on illegal gambling operators in the country. A number of online gaming operators in the country, therefore, face a grim future as well as “dire consequences” if they continue to offer their services in the country and in the territory without proper gambling licenses.

As it stands, the gaming commission has already raided about 170 illegal gambling operations since the beginning of 2018 – all of them were found to have violated the gaming laws by offering their services without the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) licenses that are supposed to be issued by the PAGOR that is required to operate online gambling on the Philippine territory.

As seen from the report that was issued by the gaming corporation when it made its announcement of the weekend, the 170 illegal online gambling operations were found to have serviced customers from around the Asia-Pacific, most of whom were Chinese. In addition to this, the regulator also revealed that a number of the individuals that were apprehended during the raids on the illegal online gambling operations were of Mandarin-descent and lacked the proper immigration and labor papers as well as the required work permits.

According to Andrea D. Doming, the PACGOR chairperson, there is an estimated four out of ten Filipin workers in every online gaming firm in the territory. These workers mostly consist of technical support and high-paying IT staff, dealers, drivers, cooks, administrative staff as well as maintenance personnel among others. The official data clarified that this brings the total number of Chinse nationals working in Philippine’s online gaming industry are close to 100,000 with their roles mostly involving customer support and technical support as well as marketing to Mandarin-speaking customers.

The consequence for the people that were swept by the regulator’s dragnet could include either criminal charges or deportation – this will depend on the passport that each of the individuals will be holding.

Revenue Bump Is Expected

Andrea Domingo said that that the gaming corporation’s third-party audit platform is almost fully operational and will be charged with regularly auditing and monitoring the operation of the gaming operators that have the POGO licenses. The audit platform is expected to effectively monitor whether license holders in the territory are contributing the stipulated revenue share to the country’s government and that they operate in compliance with the host municipality, labor, and national laws in cases where their gambling services are being offered to offshore consumers.

Revenue will be a major determinant of whether the new third-party audit platform is as effective as expected. Last year, the POGO program brought in PHP3.9 billion in tax and fee revenue, a figure that is expected to double with the launch of the auditing platform.

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