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Plenary session on POGO shutdown set for this week

September 25, 2023 Philippines Crime & LegaliGaming & Gambling

Philippine Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno has called for increased effort to expel and prohibit the admission of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs).

Speaking to the media on Friday last week, the Secretary did not comment on the Senate Committee on Means and Ways’ proposed three-month phasing-out plan, instead stating, “I want to see them go.” Diokno observes that the prohibition on POGOs means that “players will no longer be permitted to enter” – alluding specifically to “Chinese operators.”

He also demanded that institutions be prohibited from conducting business with “these people.”

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, a longtime advocate for the prohibition of POGOs, expressed optimism that the ban could be implemented shortly, citing the support of erstwhile minority floor leader Franklin Drilon.

This week, the recommendations issued by the Means and Ways Committee, chaired by Senator Gatchalian, will be discussed in plenary sessions.

In an effort to root out illicit operators, the nation’s gambling regulator PAGCOR has called for a vast clean-up of the industry, requiring all license holders to reapply and pay increased fees.

Numerous investigations, conducted in response to tips about illicit activity such as human trafficking and cryptocurrency schemes, have brought the POGO issue to the forefront of public consciousness, prompting demands for a total prohibition on the operations, citing the policies of other jurisdictions that prohibit offshore gaming.

Original story by: Asia Gaming Brief

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