The online gambling woes continue in the Philippines as operators may not be safe from the efforts to ban the activity by President Rodrigo Duterte. Yesterday, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) head, Andrea Domingo, stated that the local gaming regulator is looking into online gambling activities of the Freeport zones, areas in which online gambling companies based in Asia are licensed.
The newly appointed Domingo was interviewed by Reuters and stated in that interview that the strong pronouncement that has been repeated by the president has left the company with no choice but to do away with the licensing of PhilWeb. This is being done despite the fact that the result will be thousands of job losses and tens of millions lost in revenues from eGaming that PAGCOR will lose.
On the 30th of June, Duterte was sworn in as the new president and wasted no time starting his stance against online gambling. The same day, Duterte stated that online gambling must stop based on the activity’s potential to harm local residents. The continual statements against online gambling left the local gaming regulator with no choice but to decline the renewal of the licensing for PhilWeb. This decision has led PhilWeb to shut down as many as 286 eGaming cafes.
Uncertainty still remains for international iGambling sites that have licensing via the Frist Cagayan Leisure and Resort Corp. This licensing falls under the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, or CEZA. Based on the law, sites that are licensed by CEZA are not allowed to accept wagers from residents in the Philippines.
This should keep such sites exempt from the anti-gambling stance of Duterte, who wants to see the locals working instead of gambling. However, it has yet to be ruled out that Duterte will not go after the international online gambling sites that are licensed by CEZA.