Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation

PAGCOR welcomes apprehension of illegal POGOs

Fri | 05.08.2020 | 11:00 AM

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) welcomes the wisdom of Representative JB Bernos, Chairperson of the House Committee on Games and Amusements – who called for a “stronger vetting process of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO)” after an illegal or non-registered offshore gaming operator (NOGO) in Makati was discovered by authorities on May 5, 2020. 

As the country’s gaming regulator, PAGCOR likewise denounces all forms of illegal gambling in the country – whether it is land-based or online. Hence, we welcome this recent move by authorities to apprehend illegal online gaming operators or what we now officially call NOGOs.

It can be recalled that our intensified efforts to crackdown illegal online gambling can be traced way back on March 21, 2019 when PAGCOR entered into a mutual cooperation agreement with the Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Bureau of Immigration (BI) and the Office of Cybercrime (OOC) under the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Because of the limitations of its charter, PAGCOR has no police powers. Hence, it could not arrest or prosecute illegal gambling operations. What it can do within the bounds of its charter is to regulate gaming entities, and ensure that revenues from such operations will be used for the benefit of the country.

But because of the mutual cooperation agreement, PAGCOR, PNP, NBI and the DOJ’s OOC formed an inter-agency council or Task Force that will handle intelligence gathering on illegal online gambling, centralized information sharing, intelligence operations, surveillance, raids, arrest and prosecution of illegal online gaming activities.

PAGCOR gives its full cooperation to the members of the Task Force by validating licenses, providing business, tax and other information on record. It also provides financial grants to these agencies to boost their law enforcement capacities.

Just last March this year, PAGCOR initially released P5 million (out of the P11.08 million commitment) to DOJ-OOC for the procurement of information technology equipment for DOJ’s Office of Cybercrime’s Cyber Fusion Operations Center (OpCen). The center shall serve as the complaint and monitoring center of the inter-agency council against illegal online gaming or NOGOs.

The crackdown of illegal online gaming operations in Makati last May 5 was actually one of the results of this concerted inter-agency effort.

Further, even when the gaming industry operations were suspended during the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon, the government’s anti-illegal gambling measures are not suspended.

Thus, arrests and raids being carried out by our law enforcement agencies will be carried out, should the need arise.

In view of these events, PAGCOR will continue to cooperate closely with the members of the inter-agency task force and other law enforcement agencies to help arrest and penalize illegal gambling operators in the country.

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