Gambling in the Philippines is managed through a state owned company, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation(PAGCOR). This corporation manages individual casinos in the country and also acts as a regulator to some privately owned casinos. Gambling has been present in the country since the sixteenth century. Philippines appeal as a tourist destination has over twenty casinos found in Metro Manila alone. PAGCOR granted operators with licenses towards the growing online gambling sector back in 2016.
Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators known as POGOs have become a huge tax generator for Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. POGOs are composed of 60 licensed operators that have generated approximately $6 billion in gaming revenue in 2018 and contributed $145 million in regulatory fees, licensing and gaming taxes. Gaming revenue from POGOs was estimated to have grown to approximately $8 billion in 2019 and was anticipated to continue on a growth trajectory until Covid-19 forced the temporary closure of these enterprises. The Philippines have become the world leaders in computer generated forms of slot machines and table games for gaming entertainment.
The Philippines’ government warned its citizens to avoid engaging in online gambling and threatening prosecution if they do, pointing to the link between illegal gambling and organized crime. In a statement posted to the PAGCOR website, the federal government reminds people that “all gambling on the internet is illegal. PAGCOR has received information that certain persons have been organizing illegal bingo games and online gambling and using Facebook to promote such illegal activities,” the regulator stated.
As the COVID-19 outbreak has shut travel and closed casinos throughout the world, many gamblers have turned towards online gambling sites. Chinese authorities recently announced the arrests of over 11,500 people suspected to have been involved in a cross border gambling enterprise with the Philippines. China’s Ministry of Public Security says the operation took in $32.3 billion in bets. PAGCOR says only those operators licensed to host online gambling are permitted to run an internet gaming site. Sixty entities currently hold POGO licenses in the Philippines.
The Philippines continues to struggle against the spread of COVID-19, having now recorded a total of 57,006 cases including 836 new cases reported on Monday. For more updates on gambling and gaming, keep reading GutshotMagazine.com and stay tuned!