Philippines: Senator calls for POGO ban

Philippines: Senator calls for POGO ban

Debate heats up over whether the Philippines should continue to license offshore gambling operators.

Philippines.- Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon has called for a ban on Philippines Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) saying offshore gaming operators are a “national threat”.

The Senator believes the Philippines should follow the approach taken by Cambodia in banning online gambling in the country.

“The ban in Cambodia, from available information, is that because the Chinese government objected to it. Yet we are here, we are acting like a province of China supposedly. So, if it’s banned in China, then it should also be banned here”, Drilon claimed.

“I’m disappointed, for the record, with the statement of PAGCOR, saying that we are in favour of POGOs continuing in our shores because of the income we earn. It’s such a short-term, short-ranged statement,” he continued.

“The social problems that POGOs have brought to our country is not worth the regulation fees that you earn for PAGCOR. Let me tell you that right in your face. For PHP8 billion (€141 million) as fees that you get, you’re saying that they should be here,” Drilon added.

The situation surrounding POGOs in the Philippines has garnered international attention.

US Senator Richard Gordon claimed that Philippine President Duterte was being soft on China, and this was triggering the problems with the POGO industry.

But Philippine Presidential Spokesperson, Salvador Panelo, countered: “The President is never soft on anything that relates to the national interest. You must remember that the POGOs are giving us PHP17 billion (€300 million) in the last three years. Prior to this, we’re only receiving about PHP57 million (€1 million) on online gambling. In other words, it’s a huge source of income for this government, where it can be used for all kinds of projects.”

Panelo said there was a need to “review, evaluate, streamline, and improve” the POGO industry, not ban it.

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