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PIGOs Encouraging Regulators to Intensify Their Efforts to Target Unlawful Operators

March 27, 2023 Philippines Crime & LegalEvents & Announcements

As illicit operators steal away potential customers, Philippine Inland Gaming Operators (PIGOs) are still fighting to increase their market share. Licensed PIGOs are pleading with regulators to take a tough stance against both the illegal operations themselves and those who enable them.

The CEO of Jade Entertainment, Joe Pisano, stated during a panel discussion at the ASEAN Gambling Summit that although authorities “claim they ban the sites, it’s the enablers of these illegals that we need to go after,” adding that “the largest enablers are payment solutions.”

In reference to the 20 total licensed PIGOs, Pisano says, “Illegals are currently our largest rival and not the other 19 operators.” This is a significant increase from the one or two that were registered just last year.

Moreover, Pisano calls for improved coordination between regional authorities, urging PAGCOR to collaborate with its counterparts in “Curaçao, Isle of Man, and Malta […] where, if you report back, (you may) have them take action against their own operators.”

According to Brian Ng, president of Philweb Corp., “the challenges of making it more difficult to move money through internet channels led to tightening,” wondering in the eCasino field “to what extent the illegals [..] are still dominant,” while noting that “sports betting has more illegals as opposed to traditional casino” or online casino goods.

Elvis Chan, Chairman and CEO of AB Leisure and Entertainment, comments on the current developments in PIGO operations, saying that “we’re seeing a lot of interest and likely shift into Live – for example, Live Bingo has showed a very great success.”

“With the saturation with eCasino, we will probably see a number of live studios, or live studio type services that might come into the market shortly […] the high-frequency, rapid-style betting – it appears like everybody is yearning to be in that arena right now.”

While Brian Ng observes that “if we look at eGaming GGR across our venues – performance of venues are already approaching pre-pandemic levels and even exceeding, but it’s really a combination of land-based and online being attributed to those venues,” he also observes that the venues themselves “also need to be reinvented.”

According to Pisano, if we want to expand, “we would like to persuade the regulator to allow all of us to enter new markets.”

Pisano, Ng, and Chan all mentioned that they have been having productive conversations with PAGCOR, especially under the current administration. According to Pisano, the PIGO operators saw PAGCOR as “a partner in whatever we do.”

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