PAGCOR takes legal action against 33 POGOs over unpaid fees

The future of POGOs in the Philippines is uncertain.
The future of POGOs in the Philippines is uncertain.

The regulator seeks unpaid fees of PHP2.02bn (US$39.9m).

The Philippines.- The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has initiated legal proceedings against 33 offshore gaming licensees for non-payment of dues totalling PHP2.02bn (US$39.9m). 

Chairman and CEO Alejandro Tengco said the operators, who were granted licences during a previous administration, have persistently failed to fulfil their financial obligations. According to PAGCOR records, they have failed to pay licence fees for over a year, violating Section 4.C of the Offshore Gaming Regulatory Manual, despite attempts by PAGCOR’s current management to engage with them.

Tengo said: “Because of this situation, we are duty-bound to take a legal course of action. We are now in the process of gathering pertinent information to file appropriate cases against them.”

Among the 33 operators, two received billing notifications in May 2023, while two were referred to PAGCOR’s Legal Group in February 2023. Five operators have since ceased operations, but Tengco saod legal action will still be pursued.

PAGCOR’s CEO said: “PAGCOR will continue to ensure that all our regulated gaming entities – including offshore gaming operators and service providers – will abide by our regulatory policies, including proper payment of fees and taxes.”

See also: POGOs generated US$160.78m in taxes in 2022

PAGCOR plans privatisation of its 45 casinos by 2025

PAGCOR has disclosed plans to initiate the privatisation of 45 casinos. Speaking during budget deliberations at the House of Representatives, Alejandro Tengco said the process would take place by the third quarter of 2025.

Tengco said PAGCOR aimed to increase the value of the assets ahead of privatisation. The announcement was a response to questions raised in the session after the lawmaker Edwin Olivarez raised concerns regarding PAGCOR’s dual role as both regulator and operator. He pointed out that foreign operators earn more than PAGCOR-operated casinos.

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