PAGCOR Implements Regulatory Framework to Address Illegal Offshore Gambling

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The Philippines' main body overseeing gaming licensing is the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). They've seen a growing issue with companies from other countries allowing Filipinos to gamble online without a proper license, known as "illegal offshore gaming." To address this, PAGCOR has introduced a new set of rules or a "regulatory framework." This is to ensure a fair and secure gaming environment in the Philippines.

Together with platform experts from the best PH online casinos review, we have analyzed these innovations and will share the most exciting information with you in this article.

The Rise of Illegal Offshore Gambling

Illegal offshore gambling involves foreign companies allowing Filipinos to gamble online without securing a license from PAGCOR. Such companies bypass local rules and might evade taxes.

A significant increase in illegal gambling has been observed in the Philippines. Philippine National Police (PNP) holds data on this issue. PNP arrested around 41,000 individuals this year for illegal gambling, with most arrests pertaining to online gaming.

Specific areas of concern include the Philippines Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) and eSabong. POGOs were once lucrative for the Philippines, but issues arose when the government attempted to hike taxes. Consequently, many POGOs engaged in unsavory activities such as human trafficking. PAGCOR, overseeing gaming, took action by revoking numerous POGO licenses in recent years. Yet, many perceive POGOs negatively, with some lawmakers advocating for a total POGO ban.

eSabong, an online platform for betting on cockfights, brought significant revenue to the country but faced issues with corruption and illicit activities. Disturbing events, like a mother attempting to sell her child to settle eSabong debts, led to a government ban in May 2022. Despite the ban, many continue betting on it, causing concern for PNP.

Major General Benjamin Acorda, Jr., now heading National Police, is implementing changes to combat illegal gambling. He believes current gaming laws lack clarity, complicating legal actions. Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and PAGCOR support police efforts, jointly addressing illegal gambling.

PAGCOR's Efforts to Combat Illegal Offshore Gambling

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation is also known as PAGCOR. It has an important job and watches over and sets rules for the gaming industry in the Philippines. PAGCOR makes sure that games and casinos in the country follow strict rules. This keeps the games honest and the players safe.

There's a problem called illegal offshore gambling. It's causing significant challenges for PAGCOR. This kind of gambling causes the government to lose money. It can also harm players. Because of these problems, PAGCOR created new rules. These rules are to stop illegal offshore gambling.

These new rules started last month. Gaming companies must now check in with PAGCOR by September 17, 2023. If a company has been breaking the rules, it might not get a new license. This means it can't do business anymore. Jessa Fernandez works for PAGCOR. She mentioned that PAGCOR would scrutinize the companies thoroughly, aiming to ensure no one is doing anything wrong.

But PAGCOR is doing more than just instituting new rules. The agency collaborates with police and other groups, setting up special offices to monitor gaming companies. This strategy helps in catching rule violators swiftly. Additionally, PAGCOR inspects companies more frequently and requests reports about their activities. If a company breaks the rules, PAGCOR can take action.

PAGCOR is also examining offline casinos. Action has been taken against some, such as an investigation into a company called Xinchuang Network Technology Inc. due to suspicions of misconduct. Licenses were also revoked from some firms, including Sun Valley Clark and CGC Technologies.

Impact and Benefits

The introduction of PAGCOR's new framework for offshore gaming operations promises to reshape the landscape of casinos in the Philippines. The anticipated outcomes of these changes are overwhelmingly positive, both for the iGaming industry and the general public.

For the local iGaming industry, this means a more level playing field. With stringent measures in place, licensed offshore gaming operators will operate under standardized regulations, ensuring fair competition. This approach encourages businesses to operate ethically and attracts reputable offshore gaming operators to invest in the Philippine market.

From a governmental perspective, the new framework is expected to bring about a significant increase in revenue. Illegal operations have sidestepped the tax system, costing the government valuable resources. Now, with all operators required to adhere to PAGCOR's standards, there will be a more consistent flow of tax revenue. Some money can be channeled into vital public services and infrastructural developments, benefiting the nation.

Most importantly, the new regulations prioritize player safety and security. Players can have greater confidence in the authenticity and fairness of online gaming platforms. They are protected against fraudulent practices and have clearer avenues for dispute redress.

FAQ for PAGCOR`s New Regulatory Framework

  • What is PAGCOR, and what is its role in the gambling industry?

PAGCOR is the primary regulatory body for the casino industry in the Philippines. It oversees all gaming activities, ensuring they are conducted ethically and legally. This includes everything from land-based casinos to online casino platforms.

  • What are the key components of PAGCOR's new regulatory framework?

PAGCOR's new regulatory framework for offshore gaming licensing is designed to address the challenges posed by illegal gambling operations. The main components include:

  1. Declaring all licensees and service providers as probationary, requiring them to reapply for approval.
  2. A stringent review process ensures only compliant, licensed offshore gaming operators receive a license.
  3. Emphasizing the importance of evaluating the beneficial owners of companies to hold them accountable for any illicit activities.
  4. Enhancing player protection ensures fair play and participant safety, especially in online casinos.
  • What penalties do illegal offshore gambling operators face?

Illegal offshore gambling operators face various penalties, especially those that don't align with PAGCOR's standards. These include the revocation of their license, heavy financial penalties, and potential legal actions. Any online casino found operating without proper authorization or outside the boundaries of the license will be subject to these stringent measures, ensuring the integrity and safety of the gambling industry in the Philippines.


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