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Online casinos to top call centers as space users

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Online casinos in the Philippines that employ tens of thousands of foreign workers are set to surpass call centers as Manila’s top new office space users.

POGOs, short for Philippines offshore gaming operators, are expected to take up as much as 480,000 square meters of new office space by the end of the year against about 450,000 square meters by the business process outsourcing sector, according to Leechiu Property Consultants.

As of end-June, online casinos leased 242,000 square meters in Metro Manila against the call center industry’s 244,000 square meters, Leechiu said.

POGOs are expanding aggressively and they pick locations faster while the outsourcing industry is stalling, CEO David Leechiu said at a briefing in Manila.

More than 50 POGOs have received permits to operate since President Rodrigo Duterte began awarding licenses in 2016.

The government estimates that 138,000 mostly Chinese are working in online casinos that cater to overseas Chinese punters.

By Leechiu’s estimates, the POGO sector employs about 345,000. “It’s not a question of how fast it will grow but how fast we can keep up with their demand,” Leechiu said. (Bloomberg)

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