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188BET moves its license and operations from Europe to the Philippines

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Online gambling giant 188BET has announced that it is shutting down its Isle of Man operations and moving its license back under the jurisdiction of the Philippines.

The move that seemed to have been in the making for some time was announced in an email to all players sent out on Friday. In it, the sports betting and casino behemoth informed its customers of the changes and explained the time frame as well as other details of the restructuring exercise:

 “188BET is currently operated by Cube Limited and licensed by the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission (IoMGSC). Effective from 00:00:00 hrs (GMT -4) on 19 March 2024 Cube Limited will surrender its IoMGSC licence and the business of 188BET will be operated by a new Philippine-based company, BestCommerce Corporation, which is licensed and regulated by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR).”

Players who are not 21 years of age (the minimum age under PAGCOR regulations) or who do not wish to play under the new license can choose to have their accounts closed and any funds returned. 188BET has held its current Isle of Man license since 2007 and was one of the first Asian bookmakers to set up its corporate headquarter on the British island. It previously employed traders and support staff at its original office in the capital city of Douglas, before scaling down on-island operations to only cover regulatory and compliance matters.

188BET moves its license and operations from Europe to the Philippines

Around the time of the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte, the company once again relocated some operational staff from its office in the central business district of Makati to a new base not far from its original office in the Isle of Man’s capital. AGBrief understands that this office is in the process of being closed and over 100 staff members are being relocated back to Asia. While the renewed move away from the jurisdiction will be seen as a blow to the Isle of Man in some quarters, the reasoning behind it has not been revealed publicly by the privately owned company.

The Isle of Man, and similar jurisdictions like Curacao that are popular with operators focusing on pre-regulated markets, have seen a general resurgence in popularity in recent times. Equally, PAGCOR has been trying to attract companies back to its shores with its new licensing framework, reduced taxes and changed leadership. The move of one of Asia’s largest gambling companies back to the Philippines will be seen as a vote of confidence in the country and its gambling regulator by some.

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.

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