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POGOs face scrutiny in the Philippines House of Representatives


Efforts to prohibit Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) within the country have gained traction at the House of Representatives following a recent hearing.

The House committee on games and amusement, chaired by Cavite 6th District Representative Antonio Ferrer, approved two crucial measures on Monday, February 12. House Bill 5082 seeks to address the growing concerns surrounding POGOs, while House Resolution 1197 proposes further scrutiny and regulation. The latter, authored by Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Representative Rufus Rodriguez, advocates for an outright ban on POGOs.

Rep. Rodriguez highlighted several issues associated with POGOs. These gambling entities, despite contributing substantial revenues to the nation, have allegedly been involved in illegal activities such as money laundering, illegal immigration, and employment violations. Additionally, multiple cases of kidnapping and other violent crimes have been linked to POGOs. Notably, in the first half of 2023, the Philippine National Police recorded 4,039 victims in four POGO-related criminal incidents.

POGOs face scrutiny in the Philippines House of Representatives

Rep. Rodriguez emphasized that while POGOs may have provided economic benefits, they have also exacerbated serious peace and order concerns. The unintended consequences, including the rise of prostitution, underscore the urgency of addressing this issue.

However, the state gaming regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), stands in opposition to an outright ban. PAGCOR Chairman Alejandro Tengco contends that the current generation of POGOs differs markedly from their predecessors under the previous administration. Tengco assured the panel that the reforms implemented have yielded positive results, effectively addressing the crimes and illicit activities raised by Rep. Rodriguez.

Frank Schuengel
Frank Schuengel
Frank Schuengel is an online gambling industry veteran with over twenty years of experience in Europe and Asia. Equally at home in the Isle of Man and the Philippines, he started his career as a sports trader before setting up and running whole operations, and more recently focusing on the regulatory and licensing side of things in the worlds of fiat and crypto eGaming. When he is not writing about gambling topics, he can be found cycling around Manila and advocating sustainable transport solutions for a Philippines based mobility magazine.