The regulator has asked people not to use the term POGO to refer to illegal online gambling operations.
The Philippines.- A linguistic battle has broken out in the Philippines after the arrests of Chinese citizens allegedly involved in illegal online gaming. The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) has clarified that Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) are licensed operators and so the term should not be used to refer to illegal operations.
PAGCOR chairman and chief executive officer Alejandro Tengco said: “The agency emphasizes that any person, group or entity that operates online gambling without approval from PAGCOR should not be categorized as POGO.
“Any gaming entity that fails to pass the application process for an offshore gaming license cannot be labelled as POGO.”
There are currently 34 PAGCOR-approved POGO operators, 127 accredited service providers and five special categories of business process outsourcing. The regulator has revoked the licences of 175 Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) who together employed around 40,000 Chinese nationals.
Justice secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said that starting from October 1, the government would deport 281 Chinese citizens who were illegally employed by online gambling operators. The Philippines now expects 3,000 to 4,000 more to be repatriated by mid-October.
Philippine Senate committee to study potential impact of banning POGOs
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has announced that the Senate committee on ways and means, which he heads, will hold a hearing to explore what economic impact a ban on POGOs could have for the Philippines.
A proposal to ban POGOs was made after reports of kidnappings. The PAGCOR carried out a raid with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to rescue 40 foreign nationals who were working at an illegal offshore gaming company.
However, David Leechiu, CEO of Leechiu Property Consultants, warned of a possible loss of PHP5.8bn in government taxes. Leechiu said the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) would lose PHP5.25bn in revenue and 347,000 workers would lose their jobs.