After a troubling few months and many issues, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) had, along the way, made an important decision. Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) was shut by PAGCOR earlier this month, and now the licenses of offshore gaming operators who were involved in any illegal activities will be canceled in the Philippines. 

Serious accusations:

PAGCOR decided to shut POGOs after some serious accusations were made. Operators were accused of credit card fraud, illegal detention, and activities related to human trafficking.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) decided to entrust the task to its Anti-Cybercrime Group, the Special Action Forces, the Intelligence Group of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission and joined forces with the Inter-Agency Council on Anti-Trafficking. 

The first suspensions already took place. On Thursday, May 16th, the agency suspended CGC Technologies, a well-known gaming service provider in the gaming customer relations field. This accredited offshore company has been under suspicion since early May, and the inter-agency search operation revealed some reasons for the suspension. The main reason behind the suspension is six buildings operated by CGC Technologies. Only two of the six buildings placed on the company’s Pampanga site in Clark had the right licenses that PAGCOR issued, and without these licenses, its work is prohibited in the country. CGC has a chance to regain its license, but only after a detailed forensic investigation.

During the investigation, the authorities decided to confiscate more than 1000 various devices, including computers, from the problematic buildings so they could be subjected to a detailed investigation.

PAGCOR and the politicians against POGOs:

Alejandro Tengco, PAGCOR’s Chairman and CEO, approves the authorities’ decision to repatriate the foreigners. Most of them are from Indonesia, Vietnam, Nepal, Bhutan, and China, and they will have to go back to their countries.

Tengco said: “We will continuously subject our offshore gaming licensees and service providers to stricter monitoring. PAGCOR will continue to work hand in hand with law enforcement agencies to ensure a safe and responsible gaming environment not only for Filipinos but also for other nationalities. Only through regulated and responsible gaming can we minimize, if not totally eradicate, all crimes that are being linked to gaming activities.”

Many politicians also support the decision. 

Senator Sherwin Ctchalian, one of the biggest opponents of POGOs, spoke about it in March, stating that the country didn’t see many economic benefits from POGOs. On the contrary, it faced increased crime and corruption, which damaged the country’s reputation among various parties, including tourists and potential foreign investors.

Back then, the authorities responded and claimed that POGO would stay in the Philippines, but only if they kept the reputation and integrity of the industry in the country on the highest levels.