New regulatory framework to require existing POGOs to re-apply for license to operate; PAGCOR sets deadline for Sept, amidst
Original story by Viviana Chan for Asia Gaming Brief
Philippine gaming regulator PAGCOR has set a deadline for all existing Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) licensees and service providers to re-apply for their licenses until September 17th of this year.
The move comes amongst new capital requirements and tax changes, aimed at weeding out deviant operators.
Just this week, authorities raided an alleged POGO and ‘cybercrime hub’ in Pasay City, Metro Manila; a total of 650 workers, 464 of whom are Filipinos and 186 foreigners of various nationalities, were taken into custody.
Police early this year also rescued around 3,000 Filipino and foreign workers while serving a search warrant on a Las Piñas City POGO firm allegedly involved in human trafficking and other illegal activities.
As part of the intensified inter-agency effort to address all illegal activities being linked to offshore gaming operations in the country, PAGCOR announced in July a new regulatory framework for POGOs, putting all POGO licensees under a probationary status until they meet all the requirements for a new license.
“In the present framework, all Service Providers who are accepting bets are required to apply for a license. We will also evaluate the beneficial owners of these companies so that they will be held liable in case they are found to be involved in any illegal activity,” said PAGCOR’s Assistant Vice President for Offshore Gaming Licensing Atty. Jessa Fernandez said during a Senate Committee Hearing on August 2nd.
“Entities with findings of activities outside their granted license or accreditation will not be granted a license under the new framework. Likewise, licensees or service providers who shall not re-apply or were granted license within the given period shall be endorsed for cancellation,” she added.
The Philippine National Police’s cybercrime division, who said that may be joining POGO inspections with other government agencies in the future, also said that several Filipinos nabbed in the Las Piñas POGO hub, but were subsequently released, were re-arrested in a recent raid on a Cavite scam-hub.
Aside from implementing a new regulatory framework for POGOs, Fernandez shares that PAGCOR has been working closely with other government and law enforcement agencies for the setting up of offices inside an accredited hub.
National government figures have also made pronouncements in support of these recent developments against POGOs, with the country’s Finance Secretary saying that the revenue is not worth retaining the industry.
Filipino solons have likewise pushed the Marcos government to issue an absolute ban, with one senator saying that online gambling operators get away with ‘billions of unpaid taxes.
PAGCOR likewise instituted reforms that will impose stricter sanctions on all erring licensed offshore gaming operators and accredited service providers. To learn more about the reforms about PAGCOR, read the full story by Viviana Chan at https://agbrief.com/news/philippines/02/08/2023/pagcors-new-regulatory-framework-for-pogos-sets-deadline-for-re-applying-license/
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