The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) estimates around 200 fly-by-night Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) companies have been shut down so far by government authorities.
“The last count, and that was a few months ago, they’ve already closed 170 small operations… by now they should be reaching around 200 because we get an average of about 10 certifications from the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) and PNP (Philippine National Police) on who they suspect to be illegal, and ask us if they are registered with us,” said Andrea Domingo, Pagcor chairperson.
“If they’re not registered with us then that means that they will raid and close them down,” Domingo said at the Global Gaming Expo Asia (G2E Asia) @ the Philippines 2019 press conference held in Pasay City yesterday.
It can be recalled that Pagcor entered into a mutual cooperation agreement with the NBI, the PNP and the Bureau of Immigration, for a concerted drive against illegal online gambling.
Pagcor has also stopped accepting applications for the licensing of POGOs since August amid an ongoing review and until the various issues raised about the industry are addressed.
Domingo sad the Philippines will not benefit from the online gaming ban in Cambodia in terms of having more operators since there is also a moratorium on POGO licensing applications.
“As a courtesy and respect for the Chinese government closing down online gaming in Cambodia… remember we said we will not accept anymore applications for online gaming because we have to do that, we do not want to be the basin for the fallout in Cambodia,” Domingo said.
“We just want to stand on our own, transparent, clean and fair play, so we will not benefit from it in terms of having more operators. The operators might benefit from it in terms of having more players, but we’re not sure of that, we have not seen a real big spike in the GGR (gross gaming revenue),” she added.
Domingo also discussed the impact of the POGO industry on real estate and on tax collections.
“The real estate developers, they get P20 billion a year on leaseholds alone. The BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue), they expect to collect P24 billion on income taxes,” Domingo said.
“They’ve estimated that the foreign workers who are here, they probably spend P12.5 billion a month on their needs, services, clothing, etc., so BIR should be collecting P1.25 billion in VAT,” she added.
Meanwhile, PAGCOR has expressed support for G2E Asia @ the Philippines, the newest addition to the G2E Asia series of events, which will be held on December 3 and 4 at the Manila Marriott Hotel.
G2E Asia is the international gaming trade show and conference for the Asian gaming industry.
“It is an honor for the Philippines to host this globally renowned event as it reflects the region’s exciting and upward growth in gaming and entertainment, while supporting our work to preserve the integrity of the industry,” Domingo said.