PH AML body to study economic impact of online gambling

The Philippines’ anti-money laundering body is studying the possible impact on the economy should the online gambling industry shut down overnight, its chairman said on Tuesday. 

“What if all of a sudden they decide to pack up and leave? What will be the impact of that on the property sector, the food industry, the restaurants? This is part of my job as BSP governor,” Benjamin Diokno, who is governor of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and head of the Anti-Money Laundering Council, told an economic forum on Tuesday. 

The country’s sanctioned online gambling industry, known as Philippines offshore gambling operators (POGOs) has helped to prop the local economy, pushing up property and office leasing prices. 

When Diokno was asked whether he thought online gambling firms were being used for money laundering, he replied: “not necessarily.”

Officially there are 60 licensed POGO operators currently, though there is a temporary ban on issuing new licenses amid concerns of illegal workers in the industry.