PAGCOR: Overseeing PH Gambling & Curbing Illegal POGOs

Explore PAGCOR's role in regulating gambling, generating revenue, and fighting illegal POGOs. Learn more about the industry!

PAGCOR, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, is a state-owned gaming firm and regulator created to put an end to illegal casino operations in the Philippines. Its mission is to generate revenue for infrastructure, aid during natural disasters, promote tourism, and eradicate illegal gambling activities. In 2007, PAGCOR’s reign was extended, giving it another 25 years to control the gambling industry and provide funds for the government.

Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) are foreign-facing online gambling firms that must be licensed by PAGCOR to operate legally. As of June 2023, PAGCOR has listed 33 licensed POGOs. However, several lawmakers have called for a total ban on POGOs due to concerns about their social and moral impact, as well as their potential use for criminal activities.

Arguments Against a Total Ban on POGOs

While some jurisdictions have banned POGO activity, others believe that a total ban is not the solution. Lawmakers argue that a ban could create an underground sector and harm the Philippine economy. POGOs contribute significantly to the economy, as shown by the tax revenue they generated in 2019. A ban could also lead to the closure of small to medium-sized property businesses and result in significant losses for the industry.

In 2022, PAGCOR posted revenues of P58.96 billion, up 66.16% from the previous year. Its functions include regulating the gambling industry, generating revenue for the government, providing aid during natural disasters, and promoting tourism. With its extended reign, PAGCOR will continue to play a crucial role in the Philippines’ gambling industry.

Combating Illegal Online Gaming

PAGCOR is committed to ensuring fair play and competition in all gaming venues. The organization has implemented strict policies to curb the prevalence of illegal online gaming in the country. In 2016, PAGCOR enforced stricter regulatory policies to rein in illegal online gaming activities.

Illegal online gaming operations have existed in the Philippines since 2003, illegally employing approximately 80,000 overseas workers. In August 2020, PAGCOR welcomed the nation’s authorities’ efforts to crackdown on illegal Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs). A year earlier, PAGCOR entered into a cooperation agreement with several government agencies to combat illegal POGO activities.

The Department of Labor and Employment in the Philippines issued a warning to the public against illegal POGOs and the threats they pose to potential employees lured by false promises and attractive salary packages. In October 2022, the visa cancellation of close to 50,000 POGO workers was underway by the competent authorities in the Philippines. This was a result of the revocation of operating licenses by PAGCOR.

Recent Actions Against Illegal POGOs

On 26 June 2023, the Philippines National Police’s Anti-Cybercrime Group raided POGO Xinchuang’s premises, rescuing over 2,500 people suspected of being victims of trafficking. Following the raid, PAGCOR handed Xinchuang Network Technology Inc. a show cause order, requiring the company to respond to the allegations and why PAGCOR should not cancel its Certificate of Accreditation and Authority to Operate.

PAGCOR Chairman and CEO, Alejandro H Tengco, reiterated the commitment to curb illegal POGOs. He said that PAGCOR has strengthened collaboration with various government agencies to monitor the lawfulness of the activities of accredited licensees and service providers. PAGCOR will impose sanctions and penalties, as provided by the law, and even cancel permits if necessary.

PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Alejandro H. Tengco will deliver the opening keynote address at the upcoming summit in Manila taking place from the 19th to the 22nd of July. Join us in Manila from the 19th to the 22nd of July for the International summit endorsed by PAGCOR at the SMX, Manila’s largest expo center.

In conclusion, PAGCOR plays a vital role in the Philippines’ gambling industry by regulating legal gambling activities and combating illegal operations. With its extended reign, PAGCOR will continue to generate revenue for the government and contribute to the country’s economy while ensuring fair play and competition in the gaming industry.