Press Statement: PAGCOR puts moratorium on issuance of POGO license

Mon | 8.19.2019

Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) Chairman and CEO Andrea D. Domingo announced that the agency has put a moratorium on the issuance of licenses for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs).

During a press conference at the National Press Club on August 19, 2019, Domingo stated that with the moratorium, PAGCOR will closely review and monitor existing POGO contracts to address issues on security and legality of operations. The moratorium will continue until the end of 2019.

“We began the moratorium three weeks ago due to miscommunications about POGO and the POGO hubs. There were also concerns on social cause, security problems, legitimacy of the operations, and all of that. So we decided to do what is necessary to address these issues immediately,” Domingo shared.

Currently, PAGCOR has given licenses to 58 POGO operators that are employing over 130,000 individuals; three are still pending for approval, said Domingo.

“We will only have a maximum of 61. We will no longer at this time, accept applications until we have reviewed and comfortably addressed all the concerns of everybody including the concerns of the senators and real-estate people. It’s about time, after almost three years of implementing this program, to stop first and look at other concerns that we have not mend comfortably and effectively,” Domingo added.

The PAGCOR chief also noted that the agency already directed all operators to immediately report issues concerning POGO employees. Gaming employment licenses (GEL) are also being issued to all POGO workers so that they will be under PAGCOR’s jurisdiction.

Moreover, PAGCOR is also closely working with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine National Police-Anti Cybercrime Group to ensure that POGOs are operating legally. “These agencies are very active. Kapag may nakita sila na nag-ooperate ng illegal at hindi licensed ng PAGCOR, huhulihin nila, nire-raid at tuluyang isasara,” Domingo cited.

The PAGCOR Chief also shared that before she assumed office in July 2016, there were numerous offshore gaming operations in the country operating illegally with about 80,000 people. “We found out these illegal operations. We resolved the issues and gave them licenses to operate legally. We have actually done a very good intervention in the offshore gaming sector and other countries are now looking at our model,” she explained.

Domingo added that from 2016 to 2018, POGOs already remitted almost P12 billion to the national government. “This year, the agency is expecting P8 billion more, so it’s P20 billion in a span of three years, from POGO alone.

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