The Philippine authorities have detained on Thursday 265 Chinese nationals suspected of being involved in an illegal offshore gaming operation in Las Pinas City, part of Metro Manila, according to a press release from the country’s gaming regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor).
The regulator cited “intensified efforts” to crack down on so-called non-registered offshore gaming operators (NOGOs). In recent weeks, the authorities there have closed two such operations, it added.
The statement quoted Jose Tria, assistant vice president of Pagcor’s offshore gaming licensing department, as saying that it was now easier for the Philippine authorities to trace illegal online gaming operators since only a few of the existing Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) had been “given the green light to partially resume operations”.
On May 1 Pagcor had announced it had authorised a “partial resumption” of business at legally-licensed POGOs, providing they had paid all due taxes and fees and complied with measures to limit the spread of Covid-19 infection.
Mr Tria said the illegal offshore gaming operators were “unaware” that POGOs allowed to resume operations will have to “undergo thorough evaluation and inspection from Pagcor”. He added: “So, we know which specific sites will be allowed to resume operations. Consequently, NOGOs right now are easily identifiable since not all POGO sites will resume operations.”
An inter-agency task force was established in March last year to strengthen the vetting of online operators and control of illegal offshore gaming operators. Pagcor’s partners on it include the Philippine National Police, the National Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Immigration, as well as the Office of Cybercrime.
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