The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) announced in September that it would be awarding offshore gaming licenses to allow operators to offer online casino games and sports betting services in the country. The online casino application license had a fee of $50,000 and the sports betting application license a fee of $40,000.
Since the government had earlier issued a ban on the e-gaming industry in the country, the move to license offshore gaming operators was expected to offset the revenue loss. PAGCOR confirmed that during the last few weeks, it had received a total of 76 offshore gaming license applications. Those operators who end up getting approved will be termed as Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator’s (POGO).
PAGCOR plans to initially approve 25 offshore gaming licenses which will be initially valid for a period of 12 months. The performance of these 25 offshore gaming operators will be closely monitored and then a decision will be taken as whether to issue additional gaming licenses. Operators who are shortlisted for a sports betting gaming license will have to pay $150,000 and $200,000 for a online casino license.
The new regulations and rules governing the offshore gaming industry was approved in September and PAGCOR head Andrea Domingo told the House of Representatives’ Committee on Games and Amusements on October 10 that the PAGCOR team was working on developing a new manual for the gaming industry. So far no information about the new regulations and restrictions has been disclosed but Domingo did state that after a 12 month period, the rules and regulations could once again be amended.
There have been reports that a number of providers including Pacific Online Systems Corp. (Loto), DFNN Inc and Leisure and Resorts World Corp. (LR) are interested in being a part of the new industry. PhilWeb Corp who failed to have its e-gaming licenses renewed due to the government ban is also considering getting involved with the offshore gaming industry in the Philippines.
In a statement, Domingo said “There’s no prohibition for them not to apply but everything has to go through the procurement process and then the board will decide. This time, they will have to follow all the rules and regulations for procurement.”
The Philippines government led by President Rodrigo Duterte also appears to have had a change of heart over its decision to ban the e-gaming industry in the country and recently reported that it might consider a few e-gaming operators to resume their business. There is no indication if PhilWeb Corp, the biggest e-gaming provider in the country will be one of those operators.