PAGCOR revenue from offshore gaming operators rose by 71% in 2023, lawmaker says

PAGCOR revenue from offshore gaming operators rose by 71% in 2023, lawmaker says

Joey Salceda defended the permanence of offshore gaming operators in the Philippines.

The Philippines.- The chairperson of the House Ways and Means Committee and Albay representative, Joey Salceda has defended the presence of offshore gambling operators in the Philippines amid calls for a ban. He said the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) generated PHP5.1bn (US$87.12bn) in revenue from offshore gambling operators in 2023, up 71 per cent year-on-year.

Salceda stated that PAGCOR had transformed such operators, formerly known as POGOs, into a controlled sector of the economy. He attributed advancements to the leadership of chairman Alejandro H. Tengco and president and CEO Amy Eisma, saying they modernised the corporation’s policies and practices. Salceda said revised licensing regulations had increased revenue and reduced the number of licensees, allowing PAGCOR to be more selective.

PAGCOR’s data shows that revenue from gaming licensees was PHP5.1bn from 87 licensees in 2023, compared to PHP2.99bn from 158 licensees in 2022. This amount is second only to 2019, the first full year of legalised offshore gambling licensees’ (OGL) operations, when PAGCOR collected PHP7.96bn from 298 licensees,

According to The Philippines News Agency, Salceda said the phase-out of less desirable licensees, rather than the entire industry, is a positive development. He said the number of Chinese workers employed by POGOs has decreased significantly, with only 8,500 direct hires compared to a peak of 200,000. He said around 25,000 Filipinos are among the 100,000 total direct or indirect hires and that Vietnamese hires now outnumbering Chinese.

Salceda praised PAGCOR for its role in stopping illegal offshore gaming operations in Bamban, Tarlac.

Senators Robert Ace Barbers, Rufus Rodriguez, Imee MarcosRisa Hontiveros and Sherwin Gatchalian are pushing for a total ban of offshore gaming operators arguing they pose “a serious threat to national security.”

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online gambling PAGCOR POGOs