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In response to a four-fold increase in POGO-related criminality, PAGCOR promises to be severe on operators who abuse the law

February 3, 2023 Philippines Crime & Legal

In a statement, Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) regulator PAGCOR said it will not hesitate to apply sanctions and penalties on any POGOs found to be breaching the law.

Its remarks come in response to data that was presented at a Senate hearing earlier this week that showed a four-fold increase in POGO-related crimes over the past few years, from nine in 2019 to 40 in 2022. A high of 42 offenses involving kidnapping, kidnapping for ransom, or illegal imprisonment were committed in 2021.

Overnight, PAGCOR responded by announcing that it “will not sit passively in the face of these atrocities.”

“Therefore, in order to maintain the integrity of the nation’s offshore gaming business, PAGCOR will keep an eye on the legality of the operations of its approved licensees and service providers. The state-run gaming agency won’t think twice about applying the appropriate sanctions and penalties if they are discovered to have committed crimes.

In order to combat any offenses connected to offshore gaming operations, the regulator also highlighted its newly reached collaboration with the Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Department of Justice (DOJ), and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

It said: “PAGCOR would like to emphasize that as a result of the inter-agency cooperation meeting held last September 2022 involving above-mentioned agencies, there have been no reported criminal activities or kidnapping-related incidents of workers in the offshore gaming industry for over three months.”

While gambling businesses, especially offshore gaming, considerably increase government revenue, PAGCOR believes they shouldn’t be utilized as a means of abuse and injustice.

“PAGCOR, the nation’s gaming authority, condemns these heinous activities and will make sure that the regional gaming sector upholds the integrity of its operations,” it said.

In response to calls to ban online gaming, PAGCOR last week pledged to “nurture” the POGO business.

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