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Marcos Team Not Discussing POGO Ban, Preparing for Impacts

July 10, 2024 Philippines iGaming & GamblingIndustry Updates

Marcos Administration’s Economic Team Yet to Discuss POGO Ban but Preparing for Economic Impacts

The Marcos administration’s economic team has not yet discussed a potential ban on Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), but steps are being taken to mitigate the possible economic impacts. According to the Philippine News Agency, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, who leads the administration’s economic team, said the issue has not been addressed at their level yet.

However, Balisacan has previously supported banning POGOs, citing the industry’s high social costs that harm the country’s reputation. “The social cost of POGOs is quite high. We’re trying to position our country as a legitimate place for business. The last thing we want is to be seen as a haven for criminals,” Balisacan said during a Palace briefing.

According to PAGCOR, POGO (now known as IGL) revenues in 2023 reached PHP 3.45 billion ($60.87 million), with projections estimating a rise to PHP 10.22 billion ($180.26 million) by 2027. While the revenue is substantial, Balisacan believes the social costs outweigh the financial benefits. “The social cost is very high. At NEDA, we believe the revenue is not worth the social damage, and we can generate more jobs in other ways,” he added.

Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma said his department is preparing for the potential negative effects of a POGO ban by profiling workers in the industry to aid in their transition. “We are preparing and anticipate the negative effects. Profiling helps us transition smoothly,” Laguesma said.

Calls for banning POGOs have increased after raids uncovered criminal activities associated with the industry, including torture, kidnapping, and other illicit operations. Finance Secretary Ralph Recto has indicated he will recommend stopping POGO operations to the President due to these issues.

Original Story by: AGB

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