Philippines gaming watchdog/operator PAGCOR says that it is planning to cancel the contract of its POGO auditor – Global ComRCI ‘if found warranted’, after the New York banking firm that had allegedly emitted its bank certification came out to deny ever done so.

PAGCOR notes that its ‘new management is revalidating the veracity of the documents submitted by […] Global ComRCI’ after the reports that ‘Soleil Chartered Bank issued a statement denying the issuance of a bank certification to Global ComRBI […] whose contract commenced in December 2018’.

The watchdog also commented on the four-fold rise seen in POGO-related crime in 2022, compared to 2019, noting that ‘PAGCOR denounces these criminal acts and will not sit idly in the face of these injustices’.

The group assures that it will continue to monitor POGOs and impose sanctions ‘should they be found guilty of engaging in criminal acts’.

In a turnaround from previous statements justifying the necessity of POGOS, in particular due to their high employment – at least 20,000 people – PAGCOR noted that gaming operators, including POGOs ‘contribute significantly to government revenues’ but that they ‘must not be used as a vehicle for abuse and injustices’.

The group furthers ‘PAGCOR condemns these dreadful acts and will ensure that the local gaming industry will maintain the integrity of its operations.’

Philippine authorities recorded some 42 POGO-related crimes in 2022, including kidnapping, extortion and fraud, which numerous senators are now using as a push to ban the industry entirely.

The country’s president has previously stated that POGOs could be banned if the risk outweighed the benefits.

A recent study, cited by the government body in charge of evaluating POGOs, found that 58 percent of the population thought that POGOs were harmful to the nation.

Kelsey Wilhelm is a broadcast, print journalist and editor based in Asia for over 15 years. Focused on content creation, management, cross-cultural exchange and interviews for multi-lingual productions. Writing focus on gaming, business, politics, culture and heritage, events and celebrities, subcultures, music, film, art and fashion. Some of Kelsey's specialties are: editing, writing, copy creation, multi-lingual content production, cross-cultural exchange, content creation and management for Asian markets.