China has praised Cambodia for its efforts to curb online gambling and urged the Philippines to impose a ban on the industry.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang was asked about Cambodia’s weekend announcement that it would not issue more online gambling licenses and would not renew existing ones once they expire during a regular press conference. He was also asked about Manila’s statement that it would temporarily suspend the issuance of new licenses pending a review of regulation.
He said Beijing had noted the Philippine government’s announcement and appreciated it.
“We hope the Philippines will go further and ban all online gambling,” he said. “We hope it will further strengthen law enforcement with China and jointly tackle criminal activities including online gambling and cyber fraud. This will help create an enabling environment for our bilateral relations and peace and stability in the region.”
Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator licensees (POGOs) have proved a lucrative source of income for the Philippine government and PAGCOR has been actively marketing the sector.
There are currently 58 licensed offshore gaming operators in the country, and three more applications are pending consideration. They are expected to generate an additional P8 billion (US$156.5 million) in gaming revenues in 2019, making a total of P20 billion in just three and a half years.
Speaking about Cambodia, Geng said the ban would protect both Cambodian and Chinese peoples’ interests.
“As is well known, online gambling is a most dangerous tumor in modern society detested by people all across the world. It is a shared hope that this problem could be effectively dealt with.” “This year is the year of law enforcement cooperation between China and Cambodia. China stands ready to work with Cambodia to take effective measures to deepen law enforcement and security cooperation to the benefit of our people,” he said.