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Image Source Photo from PAGCOR/INQUIRER

PAGCOR to ban POGO hubs in the Philippines

July 11, 2024 Philippines iGaming & Gambling

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) is taking decisive steps to clean up the country’s online gaming industry by banning Philippine offshore gaming operator (POGO) hubs. This was announced by PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Alejandro Tengco during a Senate inquiry on July 11, Wednesday.

Tengco pointed out that while it’s impossible to completely eliminate illegal activities, PAGCOR aims to make them more challenging by prohibiting hubs. There are also plans to intensify oversight of the 43 companies holding offshore gaming licenses, now referred to as Internet Gaming Licensees (IGLs). This involves assigning “24/7 teams” that will monitor the 43 IGLs in the country, down from the 298 licensed POGOs during the Rodrigo Duterte government.

“We’re coming out with certain guidelines. We’re already banning hubs,” Tengco was quoted as saying by the Inquirer.

The Pagcor chief added, “In the meantime, there is no order for closure, this early I can inform everybody that we will not allow any hub existing or going to be applied for. We will not approve it anymore because we want to be sites specific and building specific.”

PAGCOR is implementing this new policy after Senator Sherwin Gatchalian sought for an assurance that criminal activities from POGOs will not happen again.

The idea of POGO hubs was introduced in 2019 to enhance regulation and reduce interaction between Chinese workers and local Filipinos. However, reports of Pogo-related crimes have resulted in raids being done as part of the government’s crackdown on these hubs. Last month, the Porac-based POGO operated by the Chinese nationals, affiliated with Lucky South 99 Corp., was raided for allegedly being used for human trafficking and other criminal activities such as torture.

Tengco thinks that this proactive approach will become a deterrent for future criminal activities.

“Hopefully that can deter, hopefully kung may napansin kaagad, takbo na kami sa kapulisan para malaman [Hopefully that can deter, hopefully if we notice anything, we can immediately report it to the police],” he said during the investigation by the Senate committee on women into POGO-related crimes.

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