With A Marcos Back, Filipino PAGCOR Plans To Cull POGOs

Reeling-in its controversial POGOs, Philippines state monopoly plans to launch digital online gambling market of its own.

The Philippine’s national Amusement and Gaming Corporation, known as PAGCOR, is introducing a draconian new licensing regime to reel-in the nation’s controversial off-shore iGaming privateers, the so-called POGOS, who have hitherto made rich pickings in the Asian grey or illicit gambling markets.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the move comes as PAGCOR plans to launch its very own digital casino market next year.

POGOS, an acronym for Philippine Off-shore Gaming Operators, have drawn the ire of China legislators and been slammed as “pirates” for offering online betting in Asia’s dominant nation, where gambling–with the exception of the fabulous betting entrepôt of Macau–is technically illegal.

According to a newly-released statement by PAGCOR, the Filipino government ramped-up regulation and oversight of offshore companies last month, July.

POGOs will now be subject to “intensified inspection, verification and compliance”, PAGCOR has affirmed.

“In the present framework, all service providers who are accepting bets are required to apply for a licence. We will also evaluate the beneficial owners of these companies so that they will be held liable in case they are found to be involved in any illegal activity,” warned PAGCOR’s Assistant Vice President for Off-shore Gaming Licensing, Jessa Fernandez.

“Entities with findings of activities outside their granted licence, or accreditation, will not be granted a licence under the new framework.

“Likewise, licensees or service providers who shall not re-apply or were granted licence within the given period shall be endorsed for cancellation.”

It’s certainly a tough warning to The Philippines’ astute and shape-shifting digital gaming offshore grifters.

Meantime, digital licences holders of all hues have until 17 September to re-apply for permits.

And until they’re given the regulatory green light, all have been “declared under probationary status”.

Sources within the Filipino gambling industry, who asked for anonymity, told iGamingFuture that the legislative crack-down had less to do with reform than clearing opposition from the digital landscape before the launch of PAGCOR’s own online offering–putatively termed casinofilipino.com–in the first quarter of next year.

State-sanctioned PAGCOR, which runs a network of real-world casinos, rakes in revenue of over a billion US dollars a year, some 60 billion Philippine Pesos.


Now, spurred on by new Filipino President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos–son of the notorious dictatorial duopoly of Ferdinand Marcos Snr. and his wife Imelda Marcos, kleptocrat par excellence and compulsive shoe collector, who ruled the archipelago as a personal fiefdom for two decades between 1965-1986–, PAGCOR is planning to seize the digital iGaming riches.

Insiders say the state monopoly will sell its retail domain, while maintaining regulatory oversight, and train its considerable resources on its new digital offering.

“It will emulate a physical casino and offer an immersive gaming experience,” said PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Alejandro H. Tengco.

“It will allow players to interact with the digital counterparts of traditional casino games. It will also transcend physical boundaries and will enable users from around the world to interact and participate in virtual environments.

“It can reach a global audience and can establish a presence in virtual communities of avid gamers. It will likewise offer an opportunity to tap into new markets and diversify its customer base.”

PAGCOR may have come to the iGaming party late.

But in true Marcos style, it will soon be the master of all it surveys.

As for the POGOs they’ll undoubtedly rapidly jump back into a business that will always have a place for the quick, the clever and the nimble.

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