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PIGOs urging for regulators to increase crackdown on illegal operators

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Philippine Inland Gaming Operators (PIGOs) are still fighting to gain higher market share, as illegal operators steal away potential clientele, with licensed PIGOs urging regulators to take a hardline not only on the illegal operations themselves, but also those facilitating them.

During a panel at the ASEAN Gaming Summit, CEO of Jade Entertainment Joe Pisano noted that regulators “say they block the sites, but it’s the enablers of these illegals that we need to go after”, noting that “the biggest enablers are payment solutions”.

“Illegals are currently our biggest competitor and not the other 19 operators,” notes Pisano, referring to the 20 total licensed PIGOs – a strong growth in numbers from the one or two that were registered as recently as last year.

Pisano urges for increased communication between authorities in different regions as well – pushing for PAGCOR to work with their counterparts in “Curaçao, Isle of Man, Malta […] where if you report back (you could) have them take action against their own operators”.

Brian Ng, president of Philweb Corp, noted that “the issues of making it more difficult to move money through online channels led to tightening”, questioning in the eCasino space “to what extent the illegals [..,] are still dominating”, but noting that “sports betting has more illegals as opposed to traditional casino” or online casino products.

Speaking of the current trends in PIGO operations, Elvis Chan, Chairman and CEO of AB Leisure and Entertainment, notes that “we’re seeing a lot of interest and possible transition into Live – for example Live Bingo has shown a very strong performance”.

“Given the saturation with eCasino, we will probably see a number of live studios, or live studio type services that might come into the market soon […] the high-frequency, rapid-style betting – it seems that everybody is wanting to be in that space right now”.

Brian Ng, meanwhile, notes that “if we look at eGaming GGR across our venues – performance of venues are already approaching pre-pandemic levels and even exceeding, but it’s really a combination of land-based and online being attributed to those venues,” noting that the venues themselves “also need to be reinvented”.

Pisano notes that in order to grow “we would like to lobby the regulator to allow all of us to go into other markets”.

Pisano, Ng and Chan all did note that they have been engaging with fruitful discussions with PAGCOR, in particular under the new leadership, with the PIGO operators seeing PAGCOR “as a partner in everything we do,” notes Pisano.

Kelsey Wilhelm
Kelsey Wilhelmhttps://agbrief.com
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.

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