The Philippines’ Finance Secretary, Benjamin Diokno, has said the country should get rid of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), despite a possible shortfall in annual revenue collections, reported the Philippine Star newspaper.
Mr Diokno made the comments on Wednesday during the “Kapihan sa Manila Bay” weekly news forum. He stated that the presence of POGOs boosted reputational risks and carried social costs for the country.
“For me, let’s get rid of POGOs. We can get revenues from lots of other sources,” he was quoted as saying.
The media outlet said the national government raked in just below PHP4.44 billion (US$80.1 million) from POGOs in the first eight months of 2022, compared to PHP3.91 billion in full-year 2021.
In his Wednesday’s remarks, the official also cited the social costs of keeping POGOs operating, owing to concerns linked to criminal activities.
In May, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) issued what it called a “stern warning” to POGOs against involvement in criminal activities. The warning followed a suspension order issued to CGC Technologies (CGC), an accredited offshore gaming customer relations service provider.
Members of a Philippine Senate committee had previously criticised Pagcor for what they said was a lack of oversight regarding the operations of POGOs.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, in particular, has urged the prompt closure of POGOs. He has cited lack of benefit to the wider domestic economy, outstanding tax liabilities of some operators, and concerns about social harm from “criminal influence” associated with the trade.
The online gaming segment in the Philippines grew rapidly under the leadership of former Pagcor chairman Andrea Domingo.
In March, Pagcor stated it had terminated the contract of a third-party auditor that had been responsible for auditing POGOs. It said the service provider was found to be “in default of its obligations” and to “have committed unlawful acts”.
Oct 01, 2023Macau’s September casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) fell by 13.2 percent month-on-month, to MOP14.94 billion (US$1.85 billion), according to a Sunday announcement from the local regulator, the...
”The Philippines has been the primary growth driver, but really the broader Asian gaming industry is something that’s really important to us”
Chief executive of casino equipment provider Light & Wonder