Pagcor targets offshore online gaming operators

Pagcor is on the lookout for overseas online gaming business after the regulator’s crackdown in the Philippines threatens to shrink revenue.

The Philippines.- The Philippine Amusement & Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) is targeting offshore online gaming operators on the lookout for more business, after the state-owned gambling regulator’s crackdown at home threatens to shrink revenue.

According to Andrea Domingo, Pagcor’s head, the regulator will soon start issuing online gambling licenses restricted to foreigners. The agency also plans to issue casino licenses outside the capital and sell the more than three dozen gambling dens it owns either in whole or in a partnership as the government “rationalises” the industry and considers exiting the casino business, Domingo added.

“It’s 100 percent money. This is going to augment our revenue without breaking any of the pronouncements of the president not to have Filipinos get into the gaming habit,” explained Domingo.

President Rodrigo Duterte, vowed to “destroy” online gaming from the very moment he took office at the end of June. Duterte’s anti-gambling campaign sent shares of the Southeast Asian nation’s gambling companies from PhilWeb Corp. to Leisure & Resorts World Corp. reeling. This week the president has softened his position, declaring that he may reconsider provided online gambling companies pay the right taxes and follow the prescribed zoning rules.

An “offshore betting” platform would compensate for the estimated 10 billion pesos (€191 million) in annual revenue Pagcor may lose amid the crackdown in the local industry, added Domingo.