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Senator urges Philippines gov’t to boost crackdown on foreigners involved in illegal POGOs


Philippine Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian is urging the country’s Bureau of Immigration (BI) to intensify efforts to prevent foreigners involved in illegal Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) from entering the country and establishing more illicit operations.

According to Business World, Gatchalian emphasized the need for the BI to act as effective gatekeepers against criminal elements aiming to exploit the country for illegal activities, highlighting the ease with which these individuals move between different POGO companies, despite immigration regulations.

POGO-related crimes, including human trafficking, have victimized over 4,000 people in the first half of last year, as reported by the Philippine National Police (PNP) in October.

Gatchalian has proposed a resolution to permanently ban such operations, noting their continued licensing by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) despite their criminal associations.

Despite the problems, PAGCOR and various politicians still support offshore gaming, noting the revenue brought into the country and the jobs created by the sector.

PAGCOR announced plans to privatize its 45 casinos by the third quarter of 2025, anticipating significant revenue generation. This move is seen as a measure to compensate for state losses resulting from unpaid dues amounting to about PHP2.2 billion ($38.2 million) from closed POGO companies.

Nelson Moura
Nelson Moura
Editor and reporter with 10 years of experience in Greater China, namely Taiwan and Macau, in printed and online media, with a focus on finance, gaming, politics, crime, business and social issues.