The Philippine gaming regulator said on Wednesday it had ordered the temporary suspension of many online gaming business aimed at foreign customers as part of the country’s efforts to stop the further spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) ordered the temporary suspension of business by Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) and related service providers on the country’s main island Luzon, “for the duration of the enhanced community quarantine imposed by the government, effective immediately”. Such quarantine is in effect until April 14, according to the authorities.
The regulator stated “the skeletal workforce” at POGO sites was “no longer allowed”. All POGO employees should “remain in their places of residence” and “no loitering or mass gatherings” would be allowed, said the announcement.
The maintenance and upkeep of POGO data centres, software, technical devices and other information technology facilities “must be done remotely,” Pagcor further noted.
For any task that could not be performed remotely, “maintenance personnel must secure necessary permits from the concerned unit of the Inter-Agency Task Force,” said the statement.
“As for POGO operations outside Luzon, Pagcor advices operators and service providers to abide by the community quarantine measures that are being adopted by concerned local government units,” noted the document.
“While revenue generation is important in our operations, the health and well-being being of every Filipino is our immediate priority,” said Andrea Domingo, Pagcor chairman and chief executive.
Pagcor had earlier suspended all licensed bricks and mortar casino operations in the country, as well as electronic games, bingo – traditional and electronic – sports betting, poker, and slot machine clubs.
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”Our own consensus is that any newcomers to this [junket] sector should be corporatised, and should be financially sound and able to commit a higher guarantee deposit”
Kwok Chi Chung
President of junket trade body, the Macau Association of Gaming and Entertainment Promoters