PAGCOR intensifies efforts to combat offshore gambling activities

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The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation has introduced a fresh regulatory framework that is designed to tackle offshore gaming licensees.

Introduced last month, the inter agency effort is charged with addressing illegal activities being linked to offshore gaming operations in the country, becoming the latest such attempt to crackdown on such activity.

This follows PAGCOR Chair and CEO Alejandro Tengco elaborating on plans to establish the Philippines as “a leading gaming destination in the ASEAN region” earlier in the year. 

Under the framework, all licensees and service providers were declared under probationary status and were directed to re-apply, with those found to possess illegal ties not gaining a renewal.

Jessa Fernandez, Assistant Vice President for Offshore Gaming Licensing, said during a recent Senate Committee Hearing: “In the present framework, all service providers who are accepting bets are required to apply for a licence. 

“We will also evaluate the beneficial owners of these companies so that they will be held liable in case they are found to be involved in any illegal activity.

“Entities with findings of activities outside their granted licence or accreditation will not be granted a licence under the new framework. 

“Likewise, licensees or service providers who shall not re-apply or were granted licence within the given period shall be endorsed for cancellation.”

This became the latest initiative to tackle illegal gambling activities in the region, with PAGCOR having been working with government and law enforcement agencies to set up offices inside an accredited hub.

Further reforms include imposing stricter sanctions on licensees and service providers found to be engaged in criminal activities, heightening inspection and compliance protocols, submitting reports to enforcement agencies, and adopting a stricter implementation of regulations.

In addition to also undertaking a land-based clampdown, PAGCOR has detailed plans to launch an online casino, titled Casino Filipino, by the first quarter of next year.