Casino regulator-cum-operator the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) has revoked a total of 124 operating licences for e-Games parlours since the beginning of July, reported the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper.
The new head of Pagcor, Andrea Domingo, reportedly said the regulator had revoked licences of companies that allegedly did not have the required gaming stations or venues, thereby violating the existing rules and regulations, the media outlet said. E-games outlets usually offer electronic versions of card games, casino table games, video poker and slot machines.
Ms Domingo said Pagcor could lose up to PHP10 billion (US$212.8 million) as a result of cancelling or not renewing online gaming licences, reported the Inquirer. She was speaking at a media forum on Friday.
The head of Pagcor additionally said that the regulator does not plan to renew the licences of 302 e-Games venues and 324 e-Bingo outlets that cater to local bettors.
Pagcor last month reported net income of PHP2.45 billion for the first six months of 2016, up by 2.5 percent from the prior-year period.
The crackdown against online gaming licences follows a call from the Philippines’ new President, Rodrigo Duterte, to stop the proliferation of online gambling in the country and to revoke existing licences.
President Duterte and his team have not yet provided further details on such plans, namely which firms or types of games would be affected by a potential ban on online gaming within the Philippines.
Pagcor had already announced a freeze on the issuance of new online gaming licences.
Ms Domingo was quoted saying that the government is currently drafting an executive order on online gaming. Pagcor is also setting up a task force on illegal gambling, in cooperation with the police and law enforcement agencies of the government, she added.
The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (known as CEZA), in the northeast of Luzon, the main island of the Philippines, has – separately from Pagcor – a master licensor called First Cagayan Leisure and Resort Corp that is allowed to issue online and land-based gaming licences for offshore operations.
Prior to Mr Duterte’s election, a new body called the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority (known as APECO) – also based in the northeastern part of Luzon – said it intended to issue online gaming licences via its own master licensor, Pacific Seaboard Leisure and Entertainment Corp.
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Gross gaming revenue produced by the Philippine casino sector in the second quarter