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PH house committee approves bills prohibiting POGOs from operating within country

February 14, 2024 Philippines Industry Updates

Two legislation intended to prevent all Internet Gaming Licensees (IGLs), previously known as POGOs, from functioning in the country have been passed by a parliamentary committee in the Philippines.

According to the Philippine Star, the House sports and amusements committee passed House Resolution 1197, which requests that the government ban POGO operations, and House Bill 5082, which seeks to dissolve and declare all POGO activities in the country illegal.

These restrictions are a response to the major criminal activities that offshore gaming companies have engaged in, including human trafficking, illegal detention, and bitcoin investment scams. Due to unlawful activities, a number of communities have opted to prohibit POGOs from operating inside their borders, and several POGO operators have been raided and shut down over the course of the last year.

The gaming regulator PAGCOR has chosen to address the company’s shortcomings rather than completely shut it down in spite of these worries. All licensed POGOs were placed on probation by PAGCOR in July of last year, and they were required to reapply for licenses awaiting further suitability checks. The regulator has also referred to them as IGLs.

Alejandro Tengco, the chairman of PAGCOR, has said that there are now just 75 licensees, down from 250 at one point.

One of the authors of the newly passed legislation, Representative Rufus Rodriguez, emphasized that offshore operators had been given enough opportunities. “The number of victims has grown rapidly,” he said. No further limitations are possible at this time. We argue that because a five-year window was given for effective regulations, which have not materialized, there is no longer room for further regulation.”

He also underlined how often journalists and the general public have reported on illicit activities associated with POGOs, including ransom kidnapping, VIP rooms, and massage parlors. According to Rodriguez, it’s critical to acknowledge the nation’s shortcomings with POGOs.

Original story by: IAG

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