Philippines Senator Pushes for Tougher Measures against Illegal POGOs

In a bid to address the burgeoning concerns surrounding illegal Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), Senator Sherwin Gatchalian of the Philippines has called for heightened vigilance from the Bureau of Immigration (BI).

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian Urges Vigilance Against Illegal POGOs

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He emphasizes the crucial role of the BI in thwarting the entry of foreigners involved in illicit POGO activities, thereby safeguarding the nation against criminal exploitation.

Senator Gatchalian's Call to Action

The urgency of Senator Gatchalian's plea is underscored by the escalating incidence of POGO-related crimes, including alarming cases of human trafficking. Reports from the Philippine National Police (PNP) reveal that over 4,000 individuals fell victim to such crimes in the first half of the previous year alone. Senator Gatchalian stresses the imperative of implementing stringent measures to combat these nefarious activities and ensure the safety of Filipino citizens.

In response to these pressing issues, Senator Gatchalian has proposed a resolution advocating for the permanent ban of illegal POGO operations. He argues that such activities are often intertwined with criminal syndicates, posing a significant threat to the country's integrity. Despite ongoing licensing efforts by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR), Senator Gatchalian contends that the cessation of illegal POGO operations is paramount to upholding national security.

However, opinions regarding POGOs remain divided within political circles and among stakeholders. While some politicians and PAGCOR advocate for the continuation of offshore gaming due to its revenue-generating potential and job creation benefits, Senator Gatchalian remains steadfast in his opposition to illegal POGOs. He asserts that safeguarding national security and combating organized crime should take precedence over financial gains.

More Regulation News

Support for Senator Gatchalian's stance has also been echoed by the Chinese Embassy in Manila, which commended the Philippine government's efforts to address POGO-related issues. Emphasizing the illegality of gambling under Chinese law, the embassy reiterated its commitment to cracking down on Chinese nationals involved in overseas gambling activities. This endorsement underscores the importance of adhering to local laws and regulations, irrespective of financial incentives.

PAGCOR's Casino Privatization to Boost Regulatory Compliance

In parallel to these developments, PAGCOR has announced plans to privatize its 45 casinos by the third quarter of 2025. This strategic move aims to bolster revenue generation and offset state losses resulting from unpaid dues owed by closed POGO companies, amounting to approximately PHP2.2 billion (€35.6 million). The privatization initiative reflects the government's commitment to recouping losses while ensuring regulatory compliance in the iGaming industry.

As the debate surrounding POGOs continues to unfold, Senator Gatchalian's call for stronger measures against illegal operations underscores the imperative of prioritizing national security and ethical governance. By adopting a resolute stance against criminal elements, the Philippines endeavors to fortify its integrity and uphold the welfare of its citizens amidst evolving challenges in the gaming landscape.


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