Philippine Key Regulator Opens Door To Online Gaming

gavelBill Beatty, editor in chief of calvinayre.com, takes a look at how the laws are changing in the Philippines, where the new president Rodrigo Duterte has caused a shake-up to how the industry operates.  

Philippine gaming regulators are bracing for a new challenge now that they’re planning to assume oversight of the nation’s online gambling industry.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) plans to issue its first batch of online gambling licenses by the end of October, one month after the regulator announced plans to license PAGCOR ‘offshore’ gambling operators (POGO).

PAGCOR Chair Andrea Domingo is to be applauded for taking steps to further the development of its online gambling industry, which will benefit the local economy while offering PAGCOR-licensed operators the stability they require to further their business goals.

While the bulk of the Asian-facing online gambling industry has made the Philippines home for years, creating thousands of high-paying jobs and bringing in substantial investments into the local economy, oversight of these operators was largely handled by the First Cagayan Leisure and Resort Corp in the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, as PAGCOR focused on the eGames digital café industry that catered to local residents.

Acknowledging the learning curve that it faces, PAGCOR’s initial POGO licenses will be valid for only one year, and PAGCOR plans to spend the first three to six months of this period studying the business and, if necessary, making regulatory adjustments to adapt to the working reality.

PAGCOR will generate new revenue via online gaming license fees and taxes, but the effects of the POGO plan will ripple across the Philippines’ economy. The country is already the global leader in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry and those online gambling companies that haven’t already opened BPO facilities in the Philippines now have even greater incentive to do so.

At present, the Philippines’ online gaming industry is believed to employ at least 50,000 local residents. These employees earn premium salaries and their spending power helps support a variety of secondary industries, from restaurants to real estate.

The salaries these white-collar employees earn also free them from the necessity of having to leave the country to find suitable employment abroad. Keeping these workers at home allows the government to collect more payroll taxes, leaving it better able to provide better services to the country as a whole.

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