HomeNewsPhilippinesPhilippines Finance Minister wants to shut POGOs despite potential revenue loss

Philippines Finance Minister wants to shut POGOs despite potential revenue loss

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Despite the potential impact on government revenues, Benjamin Diokno, the Philippines’ finance secretary, has expressed a desire to ban Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs). Diokno stressed concerns regarding reputational risks and social costs associated with the presence of POGOs. He stated directly: “Let’s get rid of POGOs. We can get revenues from lots of other sources.”

According to Philippine gaming operator and regulator PAGCOR, it estimates for POGO revenues in 2023 are for PHP3.45 billion ($60.87 million), rising steadily in coming years to PHP10.22 billion ($180.26 million) by 2027.

Diokno believes that the presence of POGOs could explain why the Philippines remained on the “gray list” of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). 

Due to its failure to adequately address gaps in its anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regime, the FATF has retained the Philippines on its gray list for the second straight year.

The presence of POGOs also drives the growth of the country’s office leasing. According to data from Colliers Philippines last year, this industry occupied 5 percent of total leasable office spaces across the country.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, a long-time opponent of POGOs, said early this year that the “POGO experiment” had failed to provide the economic benefits it had promised and instead “created new avenues for crime and corruption, damaging our country’s reputation among diplomatic allies, foreign investors, potential tourists, and even our own countrymen.”

In March, PAGCOR reiterated his position to keep the country’s POGO industry while also pledging to clean up the sector.

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