The introduction of Philippine Inland Gaming Operator (PIGO) licences has reshaped the gambling scene in the Philippines, as large-scale integrated casino operators have ventured into the online space, fostering increased trust among players in this type of gambling, according to Suat Sirin, president of Tecnet Asia Inc, a firm providing technical services for PIGO operations.
Speaking at a summit session during the first day of the MGS Entertainment Show at the Galaxy International Convention Center in Macau, he highlighted the impact of PIGO licences on the industry. They were flagged as a licensing category during the Covid-19 pandemic, allowing land-based casino operators in the Philippines to offer online gambling services to the domestic market during a period when Covid-19-related restrictions prevented players in the country from visiting casinos. The PIGO system has continued into the post-pandemic recovery period.
As the PIGO acronym suggests, such licences are for online gambling services for the domestic market, in contrast to so-called ‘POGO’ licences – Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator permits – for services aimed at players overseas. The latter licences came under scrutiny from China in recent years as part of a campaign to deter Chinese mainland residents from engaging in online gambling.
Notably, PIGO games are required to be connected to physical gaming machines or tables, available at a physical casino, distinguishing them from traditional online gambling that utilises server-based random number generators: that is why PIGO is technically known as a form of ‘remote gambling’.
Mr Suat emphasised in the MGS conference session that because PIGO operations involved well-recognised land-based brands, this led to increased consumer onfidence in this type of gambling.
“With the big casino operators entering the online space due to the pandemic, players now play against a brand, not a casino or operator. They know that if they win a big jackpot, the brand will pay them,” explained Mr Suat.
Foreseeing a continued growth in PIGO operations within the Philippine casino industry, he anticipated that remote gambling would occupy a more significant space in the market. Tecnet Asia is expanding PIGO operations; it is working with an integrated resort to introduce conventional bingo through this system, the executive stated.
One notable advantage of PIGO for casino operators is to provide a low-risk platform for testing new games. said Mr Suat. He explained that PIGO players are typically individuals who also frequent live casinos: this allows operators to gather valuable data on player behaviour and game acceptance of new titles without significant financial investments.
Mr Suat noted that casino operators in the Philippines were using PIGO to test new games by putting them online first, analysing player behaviour, and then introducing them to the physical casino floor based on collected data.
The MGS trade show and summit continue on Wednesday (November 15). The Macau Gaming Equipment Manufacturers Association organises the activities.
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