By Chino S. Leyco
London – Foreign online casinos have expressed interest to put up shops in the Philippines while government revenue from offshore gaming licenses is expected to nearly double this year, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) said.
On the sidelines of ICE Totally Gaming event here, Pagcor Chairman Andrea D. Domingo disclosed that foreign companies have approached her to express their interest in the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) scheme.
During the ICE event, the world’s largest gambling industry conference, Domingo said that online casinos from Greece, Malta, among others have signify their intention to be POGO licensed.
Accredited POGOs are online gambling companies, service providers and player agents operating in the Philippines.
But despite the huge foreign interest in the country’s online gambling business, the Pagcor chief clarified that the industry remains strictly regulated by the government and cannot be accessed by local residents.
“Only foreigners outside the Philippines can play our licensed e-casinos. We have no plans to open it to local players,” Domingo told reporters in an interview.
Pagcor is among the 30,000 participants in this year’s London gaming conference.
“You have to know which machines are in the market and how they play. If you’re not attuned to the latest gaming machines, technology, etc., you won’t be able to survive,” Domingo said, noting Pagcor owns 44 casino venues across the Philippines.
“Then because we have the new line, we have the offshore gaming… we also have to know what is being done to regulate it, and how to prevent illegal connections,” she added.
Currently there are POGO licensed operations in the country. Of which, 45 are online casinos and 10 sports betting operators. For 2017, Domingo said that the government earned P3.14 billion from POGO licenses and it is expected to increase further by 91 percent to P6 billion this year.
Domingo said government revenues from POGO will be boosted by Pagcor’s third-party consulting firm that will audit online gambling licensees’ financial activity.
“The reason why we’re projecting P6 billion because we have this now the audit provider. They’re now installing the application, which integrates the systems of online casinos and Pagcor. We can now see real time bets,” Domingo said.
Meanwhile, Domingo said that Pagcor will cap the number of Pagcor’s online gambling licenses at 50 until it can determine whether there is enough demand to meet the supply.
“We’re very strict to the quality, we won’t allow fly-by-night operators that once they get hit, they don’t pay and transfer, put another name. That happened before — a lot of it. That will not happen this time,” Domingo said.
Tags: Andrea D. Domingo, Foreigners interested in PH-based offshore gaming operations – Pagcor, government revenue, offshore gaming, online casinos, Online gambling, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations, Philippines, POGO